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Pretoria - Four South African Police Service (SAPS) officers have been arrested in connection with the murder of 48-year-old Phikolomzi Tatsi and the assault of two other men, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said on Tuesday.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said the four, who were arrested on Monday, are two sergeants and two constables.

"Ipid investigators attended a crime scene of a death as a result of police action on 10 March in Katlehong North. The matter was reported to Ipid as death in police custody at Thelle Mogoerane Hospital," said Dlamini.

"It was alleged that two constables from Katlehong North SAPS stopped a Toyota Verso in which there were six family members. The police officers suspected that the driver was under the influence  of alcohol. It was alleged that when the police officers tried to arrest the driver, he resisted arrest."

Backup was called and other police vehicles arrived on the scene. The driver was then arrested and taken to Katlehong North SAPS.

"It was alleged that three men were assaulted at the back of the police station by at least five police officers. After the assault, the three victims were put at the back of the police van and taken to hospital to draw blood from the driver. The driver was taken to a doctor while the two other males were left behind in the van," said Dlamini.

"One male person died in the back of the police van and was certified dead by a doctor. The post mortem and medical examination showed that the victims were severely assaulted."

Ipid on Tuesday vowed that "police officers who violate the law will be held accountable".

The four are expected to appear at the Palmridge Magistrate's Court on Wednesday, on a charge of murder and two of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

African News Agency/ANA