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Court watches Tatane assault videos

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IOL news apr 24  ST P2main TataneWIDOW372

THE STAR

Widow Rose Tatane and Seipati, right, the sister of the late Andries, in court during the trial of police officers accused of being implicated in his murder during a service protest march in Ficksburg last year. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

A police video of the service delivery protests and the assault of slain protester Andries Tatane was shown in the Ficksburg Regional Court on Wednesday.

The court began watching the footage just before lunch and continued after the recess.

State prosecutor Sello Matlhoko told the court two police videos would be shown and a video made by a member of the Meqheleng Concern Citizens (MCC) group.

The public, who were warned various times in the past three days not to comment on the videos, watched the first video in silence, except for the scene where Tatane clashed with police.

It showed him beaten with batons before being wrestled away by other members of the public moments before he collapsed.

Tatane's wife Rose was in tears while it was being shown.

The court was adjourned early amid problems showing the second and third videos.

Seven policemen are accused of killing and assaulting Tatane during the protest march in April 2011.

In the indictment, the State has alleged that two of the accused fired rubber bullets at Tatane at close range.

One of the shots was fired directly at his chest and penetrated his chest cavity.

The State has further alleged that the policemen did not try to apprehend Tatane, but let him go and he staggered away, collapsed and died.

According to the indictment, the cause of Tatane's death was a gunshot wound to the chest.

The policemen have denied all allegations against them and have denied that they acted unlawfully, as set out in the charge sheet.

The video showed that Tatane clashed with police twice. The first time, he took of his shirt during the struggle, then community members wrestled him away from the police.

The alleged assault and shooting happened during the second clash.

Earlier, the policemen's counsel Johann Nel asked that the videos be studied before he ended the cross-examination of local teacher Phillip Selokoe.

Selokoe is the deputy-chairman of the MCC movement, which was established to take a memorandum of problems about lack of services delivery to the Setsoto local municipality.

Nel cross-examined Selokoe on his version of the events surrounding the assault.

The State intervened to help Selokoe when he was asked for details of the origins of two objects thrown into the crowd before the riot developed.

Matlhoko submitted that the defence’s reference to Selokoe as an educated teacher, who should be able to understand the questions put to him, was disrespectful.

The State prosecutor argued that the defence should show respect to the witness and his profession, even if his answers did not suit them.

Nel argued that references to the education status of the witness were not disrespectful.

“The person is not uninformed or unschooled, and these questions are within his ability.”

Magistrate Hein van Niekerk overruled the objection.

Nel submitted that the version of the assault Selokoe gave under cross-examination differed from a statement he gave to the police two days after the protest.

The small courtroom was packed with local residents; people sat on the steps and in any other place they could find.

Police stood at the doors, controlling access.

The trial continues. - Sapa


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