In memory of Andries Tatane -who was killed by police during a service delivery protest in Ficksburg just over a year ago – about 30 people from different organizations marched to the Harare Police Station on Sunday to protest against police brutality.
The death of Tatane, a teacher, on April 13, 2011 was caught on film and sparked a movement called We are all Andries Tatane, in the mould of the Egyptian liberation group We are all Khaled Said.
The march commemorating Tatane’s death led by Pastor Xola Skhosane of The Way of Life church in Makhaya, Khayelitsha, handed over a memorandum voicing the community’s concerns over ongoing police brutality in the country.
“This is not a political act we are here because we are all Andries Tatane. We feel the pain he went through when he died,” said Skhosana.
But Mncedisi Thwalo, of Sounds of the South, was blunter.
“The apartheid system is not dead, we are not going to tolerate the behaviour of the police who killed our people. Some here (referring to police) are deployed because of politics. We are going to demolish the entire police station if we are not taken seriously,” said Thwalo.
Chumani Maxwele, who made headlines in 2010 after he was arrested for allegedly making a rude hand signal to President Jacob Zuma’s cavalcade, took part in the march.
Maxwele said he was a victim of police brutality when they beat him at the Woodstock police station following his 2010 arrest.
“I was running in Woodstock, when the police arrest me, accusing me of pointing a figure at the president. I was kept in a police cell for 24 hours where I was beaten. They searched my house asking me which political party I belonged to. They let me go without appearing in court,” he said.
He said the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) had twice ruled that his rights were violated by the police but Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa was continuing to appeal the ruling.
“When Tatane took action for his community he was killed. We asked our selves why. We are not supporting police killing, those are criminals and the law must take action. All we are saying police must work together with the community. The person is not guilty until proven guilty,” said Maxwele. – Nombulelo Damba