Police minister Nathi Mthethwa has welcomed the arrest of six policemen in connection with the death of Andries Tatane in Ficksburg during a service delivery protest. The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) yesterday announced that the six policemen had been arrested. The men, arrested on Saturday, were from the public order police unit in Bloemfontein, ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said.
Four of the men were being charged with assault and two with murder, the South African Press Association reports. Tatane was allegedly attacked by at least six policemen “simultaneously” on Wednesday , according to media reports. They allegedly fired rubber bullets into his chest and then beat him with batons. He collapsed about 20 minutes later and died before an ambulance arrived.
“We have confidence that our criminal justice system will ensure that any person found to have done any wrong, including police officers, is accordingly punished,” Mthethwa said in a statement. “As it were, when we appealed to all in society last week to afford those who police the police, that is, the ICD, to do its work without fear or favour, we did so with full confidence in this institution.” He also offered his heartfelt condolences.
The residents of Meqheleng township were marching to the Ficksburg municipal offices to hand over a memorandum when the incident took place.