“Killer Cops Caught On Video” read a Daily Sun headline on Jan Smuts drive this morning. Automatically, my mind drifted to the two men I had seen in Sunnyside, Pretoria the previous night. Big-bellied, bullet-proof-vested men who, by my estimation, had found it better to buy some food at the cornerstore before heading to the crime scene a few minutes’ walk down the road. I imagined them committing this heinous act; deciding to act out whatever insecurities they might have on an innocent taxi driver.
Then I thought of taxi drivers’ attitudes in general. Jozi’s are the worst of the bunch; ignorant minstrels of the road who know nothing about etiquette, or ‘ubuntu’ as we like to call it around these parts. What could have inspired cops to fasten the taxi driver, Mido Macia, to the back of their van and drag him 400m before taking him to a cell where he would eventually meet his fate?
And if you can do the mental contortions to think that, in light of the Marikana Massacre, the Cato Manor police ‘death squad’, the unlawful deaths of Andries Tatane and Olga Kekana (amongst many others), the ‘shoot to kill’ rhetoric and the 257 people who died in police custody last year alone (more than one every second day), that this is just an isolated incident or what Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has referred to as the work of ‘rogue’ elements in the police; please stop, stand still and allow us to pop that bubble. The numbers speak for themselves: Instances of the police being murdered are down, but the instances of police murdering people are irrefutably on the rise. Chalk another one up for the creeping tentacles of autocracy.
*Image © Banksy.