Friday, March 01, 2013

A Suspicious Death In South African Police Custody

A man is arrested for something trivial, he is handcuffed to the back of a police van, and he later dies in custody. We usually heard such things when apartheid was the main policy in South Africa and we were not surprised. I recall as a teenager at school, grimly reading in a book on South Africa, the list of improbable suicides of black people in police custody and it being patently obvious that these people were murdered or were killed in an act of manslaughter at the least
I thought this was in the past, and if there was police brutality in Southern Africa it was likely to be in Zimbabwe, where we have a government with a (at best) questionable democratic mandate. But events these past two months regarding the South African police, remind us that this is all too patently in the present. In the area where I live there are a lot of South African immigrants and I recall one of them saying that if you are stopped by the police, then you accept the situation and do not protest.
What has happened now is that the light has been shown on this awful side to South African society, and at least the government this time fully accept the situation for what it is, but but for the events over the past two months how much of this would have remained under wraps?

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