"The ANC believes that the role of the police is [to] protect and preserve life,” African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.
"We call on the public that witnessed the incident to come forward and assist with information that will provide facts and account of the incident.”
Mido Macia, 27, a taxi driver and Mozambican national, was tied to the back of a police van and dragged along the street in Daveyton, on the East Rand, on Tuesday. An eyewitness filmed the assault. Macia died in the local police station’s cells later that day.
National police commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Friday morning that the officers involved in the incident had been suspended. "I have also instructed that the officers involved be disarmed,” she said during a media briefing in Pretoria.
"We are also removing the current station commander of Daveyton police station from his position, so that investigations can proceed uninhibited.”
The government also expressed its condolences on Friday.
”No acts of abuse and crime will be tolerated in our country. We are confident that Ipid [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] will conduct an independent and impartial investigation, and that the wheels of justice will turn in all abuse and criminal cases.” spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement.
She said the government assured South Africans that police subscribed to a code of conduct. ”If SAPS officials are found to be in violation of the code of conduct, they will be dealt with accordingly.”
The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) called on all taxi drivers to observe a minute of silence on Wednesday, at 7am, by switching off their vehicles in respect for Macia.
”We call upon all our taxi drivers and community members to remain calm and restraint under these circumstances and allow the law to take its cause,” Santaco general secretary Philip Taaibosch said. ”We however wish to guarantee our taxi drivers that their rights as human beings will be protected and defended at all costs.”
The SA Council of Churches (SACC) said it was angry and appalled at Macia’s death. ”It is simply unacceptable and needs to be condemned in the most [strongest] possible way by all those who have respect for human life and are committed to a non-violent South African nation,” SACC general secretary Reverend Mautji Pataki said.
On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma called the video of the incident horrific.
"The visuals of the incident are horrific, disturbing and unacceptable,” he said in a statement.
"No human being should be treated in that manner.” He said police were required to operate within the confines of the law in executing their duties. He also extended condolences to Macia’s family and directed Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to investigate the incident.
The Congress of SA Trade Unions, the Congress of the People, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the Democratic Alliance, Amnesty International and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution have also condemned the incident.
On Friday, Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said a second autopsy on Macia was being considered.
"There have been so many allegations of assault, so this is just to confirm what happened,” he said. - Sapa