The Benoni Magistrate's Court has been packed to capacity ahead of the appearance of eight police officers implicated in the death of Mido Macia.
The Mozambican taxi driver's relatives, delegates from the local taxi association and family members of the accused filled the three benches inside the court.
Two warrant officers and six constables were charged with murder following Macia's death in police custody.
The officers were filmed tying the 27-year-old to the back of a police van and dragging him along a street in Daveyton last Tuesday.
Macia was found dead in the local police station's holding cells several hours later.
A post-mortem examination revealed that he died of head and internal injuries.
Independent Police Investigative Directorate spokesperson Moses Dlamini said police reported they found Macia wrongfully parked on a road and ordered him to move.
"It is alleged that the taxi driver then assaulted the constable and took his police firearm. The warrant officer overpowered the taxi driver and handed the firearm back to his colleague," he said.
Dlamini said the officer then called for back-up.
They claimed to have put the "resisting suspect" into the police van and took him to the cells.
Cosatu calls for resignation
The Congress of South African Trade Unions alleged that police said Macia died when other men attacked him in the cells.
They called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to take responsibility, describing the dragging of Macia as "barbaric".
"For police to tie another human being to [a] police vehicle and in full view of the onlookers, drag the person to his death is [an] act of barbarism that defies logic," the council's general secretary Narious Moloto said.
He called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to take responsibility for the officers' conduct.
"If I were Nathi Mthethwa I [would] hang my head in shame, and even consider resignation."
Moloto said police officers operated in the same manner as their apartheid-era counterparts.
Moloto said a probe should be conducted to determine whether the country's police officers were fit to do their jobs. – Sapa.