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Ficksburg killing sparks riot


IOL pic apr15 Andries Tatane

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Rose Tatane, wife of AndriesTatane, is assisted by a friend after she has an emotional breakdown at the scene where he died. Photo: Antoine de Ras

The violent and public death of Ficksburg protester Andries Tatane on Wednesday has drawn a flood of condemnation from across the country, while Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa repeated an earlier warning to protesters not to taunt members of the police.

Mthethwa said on Thursday that he “noted the unfortunate incident where there was a scuffle between a striker and the police” and that it was “unfortunate that a life has been lost” in the “alleged incident”.

“From where we are, it will be improper to draw conclusions on the incident, but (we) remain confident that an impartial investigation will inform us what transpired, who was in the wrong, and so forth,” he said.

The minister then scolded protesters who “provoke” the police. He said that while the government “fully respects” citizens’ right to protest, it would not tolerate the “violent, barbaric destruction of property and intolerant conduct, including provoking and taunting police”.

Tatane, a father of two, husband to Rose Tatane and a community activist, died on Wednesday from his injuries sustained during service delivery protests in Ficksburg.

Said Rose: “I saw him lying there on a stretcher. He looked stiff, like somebody who died a long time ago. My son, Molefe, asked for his father. I told him his father was with the people,” said Rose.

“I saw the police beating him. I saw him standing up. I saw him falling. The last I saw was when the ambulance took him away,” she said, describing watching the footage on SABC news on Wednesday night.

On Thursday, residents in Meqheleng, a township bordering Ficksburg, burnt a municipal building and a public works depot as they vented their rage at the death.

Angry youth armed with petrol bombs and rocks barricaded roads with residents having to escort journalists inside the township.

The ANC was unequivocal in its condemnation. It said the “chilling and sad scene” broadcast on television showed how members of the SAPS “violently killed an unarmed protester after severely beating him”.

“The party expressed its condolences to the victim’s family and urged Mthethwa to institute a “commission of inquiry” into the death “to bring the perpetrators to book”.

“We are a constitutional democracy, with our people enjoying all rights to stage peaceful demonstrations to back their concerns - a far cry from being a police state. It was totally unbelievable, shocking and disgusting to see images … of such extreme police brutality and murderous activity,” the ANC said.

The ANC called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to investigate whether the SABC had “overstepped its mandate” by broadcasting “such shocking and disturbing images on its prime time news slot with disregard to young viewers and other sensitive people”.

Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said on Thursday it had received no such complaint and that any complaints relating to content against the public broadcaster should be directed to the National Association of Broadcasters, of which the SABC is a member.

DA federal chairman Wilmot James said Tatane’s “tragic death at the hands of the police” showed that the ANC government was willing to use “apartheid-era policing tactics to clamp down on service delivery protests - a deplorable and desperate act that shows just how badly this administration has lost its way”. He also slammed the governing party for “attempting to censor the broadcast of this story”.

Free State Cosatu provincial secretary Sam Mashinini said the TV footage clearly showed that Tatane “did not have any weapon in his possession”. He called for a “thorough investigation” into the incident and said anyone found to have “misused his powers and caused the killing of a person… must face the might of the law”.

“Whatever the (victim) might have done to the police it did not warrant the brutality by the police,” he said.

The SACP said the “intolerance of the police signals a growing crisis in the attitude of our policing service”. It added: “For months now the SACP has observed the irrational response of police to working-class protests. The SACP calls on the government to address this issue with the urgency it deserves.”

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe decried the “shocking” actions of police officers who “pounced on an unarmed protester like a pack of hyenas”.

Paul Hoffman, of the Institute for Accountability in Southern Africa, yesterday wrote to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela urging her to expedite his earlier complaint about the “militarisation” of the police service, which he says is unconstitutional.

The ICD confirmed that investigators had been sent to the area.

ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said statements would be taken from the police and witnesses and a final report would be sent to the national director of public prosecutions for a decision on whether or not to prosecute. - Pretoria News


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Anonymous, wrote

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01:05pm on 15 April 2011
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What I've learned since the ANC is in charge, they never want to take responsibility for thay party's action. How many times have peolpe who are on the ANC's committee went against the law or even the law breaking the law. Now they want to investigate the SABC. Come on South Africa they are messing with your heads. Normally when it's a white guy killing a black guy or even vice versa they say it's racist, what are they going to call this or is this going to be swept under the mat like all the other crimes they commit. Just my opinion!!

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@Mccanyie, wrote

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12:55pm on 15 April 2011
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Go back where? You're going even further back than you were in the apartheid times thanks to the ANC. The ANC is taking this country down the toilet and towards civil war quicker than you think. Why don't you vote for any other party then? Or do you just prefer to be the donkey that we see all over Africa blindly serving their dumbass leaders and gladly following them into the gutters. I have no sympathy for Africans - they're masters of their own destiny. I don't understand why Western people give them aid and support when their own stubborn thick heads (like yours) are why they are where they are. Let fate take care of them.

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@Phumzile, wrote

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12:52pm on 15 April 2011
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You are LYING THROUGH YOUR TEETH, the ANC do not care for anyone but themselves, look around you and see how many black people are living in SHACKS under the ANC rulership, how many are poor, how many are unemployed, well continue voting ANC, they will continue getting richer whilst the masses live in abject poverty!!!!! Show me one ANC leader that has any interest in the poor of this country, they are living in the lap of luxury. Are they waiting for their followers to burn down everything before they realised they have failed the people....what makes you think apartheid will return under someone else, right now it is apartheid in reverse, take a close look around you, remove the blinkers for a while!!!!

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Geronimo, wrote

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12:36pm on 15 April 2011
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One more vote for the ANC 100 more curruption cases to follow

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KamaSutra, wrote

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11:57am on 15 April 2011
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The ANC called on the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to investigate whether the SABC had “overstepped its mandate” by broadcasting “such shocking and disturbing images on its prime time news slot with disregard to young viewers and other sensitive people”. NO WONDER THE WANT THE MEDIA CENSORED SO THAT WE DON'T GET TO SEE POLICE BRUTALITY. WELL GNRL. CELE INSTRUCTED THEM TO "SHOOT TO KILL"... HOW SAD AND PATHETIC THAT THE "LIBERATION MOVEMENT" IS NOW USING THE SAME APARTHEID STYLE CROWD CONTROL MECHANISMS..

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Eish, wrote

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11:39am on 15 April 2011
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The chickens have come home to roost. Our governemnt has plundered billions with fraudulent tender schemes, and has left those poor people without any service delivery...

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innocentia makgele, wrote

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11:31am on 15 April 2011
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For those of us who maintain some constant involvement in the many, many conflicts that face Blacks in the 21st Century, individually and in the collective, what one fights for and who one is fighting for, seems to always be a point of contention for some people. While some understand the complexities of black struggle – that racism manifests itself on many levels and thus has to be fought on many levels

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Mccanyie, wrote

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11:27am on 15 April 2011
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Teko u busy seeing idiots whilst I think u r an idiot ureself. It'd just bcos u were'nt there during apartheid. I think Zille is a good person but am also too afraid to let a white person rule the country again. We cant go back there, we just cant

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Matrix, wrote

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11:25am on 15 April 2011
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Why burn the buildings and damage property? Why must they act like animals? Why do they insist on voting for the ANC? It has been 16 years already that the ANC is in power?

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Leo, wrote

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11:21am on 15 April 2011
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Now they want to go after the SABC for airing that footage, ANC please, you are bunch of fools who can't even see right from wrong, some things, gruesome or not, needs to be seen, wether is prime time or not, It sounds to me that you were trying to cover up the killing.....Those bastards must be punished to the full might of the law, if not people will take matters in their own hands....

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Teko@Phumzile, wrote

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11:17am on 15 April 2011
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A thousand thumbs up for your comment, what an intelligent comment :)

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Mccanyie, wrote

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11:17am on 15 April 2011
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Much respect realist. I realy wish we had more white people like you. We need them

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Thulani, wrote

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11:09am on 15 April 2011
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Hey Phumzile, you are an emabarrasment to our people. We cannot sit and blame the past. It's time for us to change our thinking or be relegated to the ranks of Zimbabwe. I understand your anger but 17 years down the line our black people also need to call a spade a spade - the ANC are stealing from everyone. I will vote for DA to see if it makes a difference if they win. If not, I'll look for someone else to vote for next time. That's the power you have with democracy. The government (black or white) is here to serve us so we must hold them accountable. What you're doing is giving the ANC carte blanche to do as they wish. Don't be a fool and move on - try new things. You may be pleasently surprised. Remember, Zille as a journalist was responsible for exposing the Steve Biko story - I respect that.

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Teko@Phumzile, wrote

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10:58am on 15 April 2011
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You are a serious idiot. The DA is the ONLY multi-racial party in RSA with qualified people. Who do you think exposed the Steve Biko episode? Zuma? Mandela? You're a serious ANC brainwashed idiot and people like you should be removed from society just simply because your stupidity is a threat to mankind. Anyway, vote for your crimnal party as much as you like. I'm sure you'll be the first to run to people like Zille when the scumbags you voted for turn on you. You are the reason why people around the world think us Africans are stupid.

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Eliza, wrote

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10:42am on 15 April 2011
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My condolences go to the family of this man, who was within his right to stand up for something he believed in. That people are prepared to justify it in any way is sad. What lay at the heart of the matter is that so few (even those who allude to the fact that he got what he deserved for probably voting for the ANC, or even partaking in protest action) are prepared to reflect on the fact that human beings can be so cruel towards one another. Those who justify (in any way) are as callous as the policemen were. For heavens sake - we are all human beings. The fact that there are the have's and the have nots, the fat cats etc. does not make anyone less humane than the next person.

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Juan, wrote

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10:41am on 15 April 2011
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People living in squatter camps should question why their ministers and presidents IMMEDIATELY get barnd new cars and massive houses, while it takes more than 16 years (and counting) for them to get crappy rdp houses.. oh well. NOT MY PROBLEM, I"M JUST FUNING THIS MESS WITH MY TAX MONEY.

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Anonymous, wrote

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10:37am on 15 April 2011
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Since we are living in demogratic country I strongly condemned the killing of innocent citizen of Ficksburg by the police who supposed to protect him.I was clear at the TV that the deceased was not hamful to the police. He was just expressing the fillings of unsatisfation when the police seized him. I thank the police made the mistake about holding him while he was walking. That's when he start to fill that the police disrespect him. To me there's no where in the world the police supposed to pull trigger for someone fighting for his right. The culprit must be fired from the defence. Motho eo ke lepolesa la tsotsi!!!

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A. Singh, wrote

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10:30am on 15 April 2011
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Rubbish, Minister Mthethwa. When we protested under apartheid, we always taunted police. This was our way of getting back at them because of the oppression, lack of democracy and a way of giving vent to our frustrations. What is wrong with people who the so-called democratic government failed to deliver to giving vent to their frustrations by taunting police? This government only delivers to the pockets of ministers, their families and the ANC's cronies. The ordinary people get no richer or are no better off. We must continue to taunt police and officials of any government that allows corruption by turning a blind eye when its cronies or ministers steal from the people by going on gravy planes to visit their criminal girlfriends taking their families & friends with them! We must continue to taunt until we get an honest government in place!

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realist, wrote

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10:24am on 15 April 2011
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SUSAN.....Try to understand the poverty and false promises made by the ANC for the last 16 years to the poverty stricken. I'm convinced you would do the exact same. I certainly would. Also remember our President is hardly about , basically non - existent and our new President Malema quiet cheerfully sings in defiance of any logic or respect 'SHOOT TO KILL.' This filters down to the frusrated mass, thus sparking the masses to imitate him. It all starts at the top. The days of Mandela are history; our President Malema said so himself, and basically everytime he opens his filthy gob hole, it incites and provokes anger amongst the masses who also want what he has. Except the country is a mess. Except we have no real decent leaders setting an example and also except that it WILL get worse. What we saw on TV was absolutely and utterly shocking, disgusting, and TOTALLY unnecesary on the part of the SAP. I personally do not blame the so called 'mob menality' you refer to. I bet you are a well off citizen, quiet comforatable with your existance. Put yourself in the shoes of the poor down trodden mass who have been promised the earth and have to recieve basic service delivery. I think you would join in. Don't you?? And yes I am white.

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Mccanyie, wrote

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10:24am on 15 April 2011
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I have much respect for you Hinkey. Its true what u said.

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