Cops 'forced' to make statements in Tatane case

An officer has recounted events leading to Andries Tatane’s death in Ficksburg.

Andries Tatane's widow, Rose (L), as pictured in the Fiksburg Regional Court in the Free State on 18 March 2013. Picture: Andrea van Wyk/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - An officer from the Public Order Police Unit on Monday described to the Ficksburg Regional Court what happened on the day when Free State protestor Andries Tatane was killed.

Seven police officers are accused of murdering Tatane during a service delivery protest in April 2011.

The officer testified that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) told those who were present when Tatane died to make statements or they would be locked up.

This backed the testimony of another officer who told the court in December that he was coerced into making an affidavit.

The witness, who was testifying for the prosecution, said he saw Tatane in a scuffle with another officer on the day of his death and that when Tatane got up, he was bleeding.

He was unable to identify any of the accused as being present at the scene, saying the officers were wearing helmets.

Seven policemen are standing trial for Tatane's murder.

They insist that Tatane was threatening them despite the fact that he was unarmed.

He was killed during a service delivery protest to the Setsoto Municipal offices.

Meanwhile, the South African Police Service (SAPS) has been in the spotlight lately following several incidents of alleged police brutality.

In the latest incident, a man was dragged behind a police van in the North West.

Almost three weeks ago, Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia was handcuffed to a police van and dragged several hundred kilometres through Daveyton. The incident was filmed by a bystander and was shown around the world.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has condemned police brutality.