South African police: A record of 'brutality'

Police fire at striking miners outside a South African mine owned by Lonmin's of London Credit: Reuters

The South African police force has come under intense scrutiny in recent months following a number of high profile cases in which their conduct has been questioned.

The country's Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) received 720 new cases for investigation of suspicious deaths in custody or in other policing contexts from April 2011 to March 2012. Amnesty International has described their record as 'brutal'.

In September 2012 South African police opened fire on striking miners at the Lonmin platinum mine.

Video emerged almost immediately of lines of armed police shooting at miners, who were striking over pay and conditions, who were armed with sticks and machetes.

In January this year video emerged which appeared to be shot by the police themselves which showed the police looking for more miners and 'bragging' about those that they had already shot.

In the Marikana Lonmin mine incident the police have maintained that they were acting in self defence after coming under attack by armed miners.

An inquiry has been launched to find out why police killed 34 miners Credit: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

After the arrest of athlete Oscar Pistorius hit the headlines it was on day two of his bail hearing that it emerged that Hilton Botha, the initial lead investigator, had been removed from the case as he himself had outstanding charges relating to the taxi minibus shooting.

Officer Hilton Botha Credit: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
  • A mathematics teacher was killed after 12 policemen beat him with batons

In 2011 Andries Tatane, a mathematics teacher and community activist was killed at a peaceful protest in Ficksburg after policemen beat him with batons and shot rubber bullets into his chest at close range.

Seven policemen were charged over the killing, the trial after several delays in still ongoing.

  • Police fire at a car 13 shots after mistaking it for a hijakers vehicle

In Pretoria in 2009 Olga Kekana was shot through the head while driving with her three friends in 2009.

Police allegedly mistook the car as a hijackers vehicle and the car was found to have 13 bullet holes. Police reportedly then fled the scene failing to help the wounded.

The police apologised to her family and the South African Independent Police Investigative Directorate launched an investigation in to the incident.