/ 27 January 2014

Roodepoort cop appears in court for protester shooting

Service delivery protests in Roodepoort has left one person dead after an altercation with the police.
Service delivery protests in Roodepoort has left one person dead after an altercation with the police.

A policeman accused of shooting dead a protester appeared briefly in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The matter against the officer, who cannot be named because an identity parade has not been conducted, was postponed to Tuesday for a bail application.

He was among four police officers arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of a protester. He was the only one who was charged with murder. "After receiving the initial factual report on the incident, it was decided that there is enough evidence to arrest and charge the member who fired the shots, for murder as well as defeating the ends [of justice] and the others for defeating the ends of justice," said Brigadier Neville Malila in a statement on Friday.

Prosecutor Una van der Schyff said on Monday the charges of defeating the ends of justice against three police officers were being investigated.

Durban Deep residents in the courtroom waiting for proceedings to get underway became impatient in the morning. Some confronted court staff in a passage leading to the prosecutor's office and complained that they had arrived early in the morning. They were frustrated because the docket was not ready.

Tshepo Babuseng (28) was shot dead, allegedly by a policeman, after protesting residents in Durban Deep, Roodepoort, barricaded roads with stones and burning tyres on Thursday over a lack of housing.

'Give me my son'
At the court on Monday, resident Adam Welkom, known as "Express", shouted "the SAPS killed my son. They must give me my son". Welkom said he was fed up because he had been waiting for a long time. "Why can't they send the minister here? Nathi [Mthethwa] must come here and give me my son," he said. 

Babuseng's aunt, Joyce Moamogwa, said she was saddened by the loss of her nephew. "I am hurt, I am not feeling well," she said. Moamogwa said police should be trained as they could not do their job. "We are not safe, we do not trust them. They are like our enemies," she said.

In the morning, Durban Deep community spokesperson Anton Mankgabe said bail should not be granted to the police officers. "If that happens, we will take radical steps. We are prepared to be arrested again," Mankgabe said.

He said residents would embark on more protests and make Roodepoort ungovernable.

Scores of people were protesting outside the court earlier. Some of the protesters were wearing DA T-shirts. They carried placards reading: "Who is going to protect us if you kill us" and "Nathi Mthethwa hold your dogs".

Another said: "You stupid police you killed my sister's child like a dog. You must go back to school." – Sapa