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Free State teacher Phillip Selokoe told the Ficksburg Regional Court on Thursday somebody must take responsibility for the death of protester Andries Tatane.
The court was hearing evidence in the murder and assault hearing of seven Free State policemen, who allegedly assaulted and killed Tatane during a service delivery protest at the Setsoto local municipality in Ficksburg in April last year.
Replying to a statement, that no policeman were acting unlawfully, by the police’s defence, Selokoe replied that he was surprised that police, whose responsibility it was to protect people, would assault a person so violently.
He said the police assaulted an individual who had a right to live and they came and ended his life.
“Justice must be served, somebody was brutally killed, somebody must be responsible,” said Selokoe.
Johann Nel, for the seven policemen accused of beating Tatane to death, said Tatane was not a peaceful protester who tried to protect older people during the protest march in the town.
Nel submitted that the policemen were within the law at all times with their actions on the day.
Earlier, Nel and Selokoe had different opinions about photos – frame grabs from the videos – in which Tatane appears to take a boxing stance towards police.
Nel submitted that Tatane was not portraying an image of a peaceful protester. Selokoe was of the opinion it showed Tatane protecting himself against blows.
He argued from the same set of photos that there was an indication that Tatane bent down to try and grab a policeman’s legs to pull him over. The policeman landed on his backside.
“There was no indication on the video that police hit him and he went down,” submitted Nel.
Selokoe did not agree. The debate led to Nel remarking that nobody was as blind as the man that did not want to see.
The witness replied with his own statement that there was usually no smoke without a fire.
He said there was no possibility that Tatane attacked police without reason.
Nel said the video indicated Tatane was fighting with police and that his own people apologised for his actions.
The defence further submitted that Tatane did not look the hopeless victim who was mercilessly attacked, as was testified to.
Selokoe reacted that Tatane’s actions were in self-defence because he was surrounded by people with batons and rifles.
Nel ended his cross-examination of Selokoe by arguing that his testimony was useless because it was loaded with lies, and that Selokoe should be ashamed of the “nonsense” he told the court.
Selokoe said he was proud of his testimony.
The trial continues. – Sapa