Tatane murder trial resumes

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IOL tatane apr 24 INLSA Andries Tatane was apparently shot with rubber bullets by police during a service delivery protest.

The trial of seven Free State policemen accused of murdering and assaulting protester Andries Tatane was set to continue in the Ficksburg regional court on Tuesday.

Counsel for the policemen, Johann Nel, was expected to continue with the cross examination of a teacher colleague of Tatane, Philip Selokoe, who witnessed Tatane's severe assault by police.

Tatane was killed in Ficksburg during a service delivery protest, allegedly by public order police, on April 13 last year.

Video footage showed riot police beating Tatane during the march to the Setsoto municipal offices in town.

Over several days, roads were blocked with stones and bricks, and tyres set alight.

The State handed an indictment to court in which all seven policemen face charges of murder and assault.

The policemen pleaded not guilty to all counts.

On Monday, Regional Magistrate Hein van Niekerk heard a misunderstanding developed between Tatane and a policeman who grabbed and dragged him to a police vehicle. He also received a deadly blow before he started to fight back with seven to eight policemen with batons.

Selokoe said police assaulted him until he was on the ground on his knees.

They continued to hit and push him mercilessly, he testified.

Tatane's wife, Rose, and other family members were in tears during this testimony. Neither could Selokoe hold back his tears while testifying.

The court was adjourned for a short while for them to compose themselves.

The State withdrew all charges against the eighth policeman Kanathasen Munsamay and he was excused from court. – Sapa


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