Police Officer ‘did not realise’ he was dragging Mozambican Taxi Driver Mido Macia. The former Daveyton policeman who dragged Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia behind a police van before his death, insists he never realised he was dragging the man.
Lungisa Gwababa was behind the wheel when Macia was dragged through the streets of Atteridgeville in February 2013, after being arrested for blocking traffic.
A video of the incident, which took place in full view of an angry crowd, went viral, leading to the arrest of nine policemen.
Macia died in a police cell a few hours later.
Gwababa, Meshack Malele, Thamsanqa Ngema, Percy Mnisi, Bongani Mdluli, Sipho Ngobeni, Bonganie Kolisi and Linda Sololo have pleaded not guilty to Macia’s murder.
Gwababa testified that on his arrival at the scene, he realised a crowd was surrounding a police van, where Ngema was speaking to Macia. Macia refused to get into the back of the van.
Gwababa and Ngema started wrestling him into the van and Ngobeni tried to cuff him, but did it the wrong way.
Never heard anyone screaming
Gwababa then took out his own handcuffs and cuffed the struggling Macia’s hands in front of him.
“When we were busy struggling with him, we were trying to place him in the vehicle. He also wanted to take his own direction and we were pulling and pushing him.
“The community was screaming and said you’ll never arrest him and threatened to burn the vehicle. That was the chaos that was threatening there…
“The situation we were in, and the pressure we were in… I was referring to our lives and the life of the prisoner we were arresting, state property and if you could hear what was being uttered by the people there, anything was possible.
“I then ran to vehicle and got into driver’s side with the intention that we should shift away from the crowd.
“A shot was fired, but I don’t know who fired it. When I got into vehicle, I didn’t know the deceased was hooked to the leg of the bench inside.
Gwababa said he never heard anyone screaming at him to stop the vehicle and did not see Mdluli following him in another vehicle and flicking his lights.
He said he was “surprised” when he stopped and saw Mdluli going to the back of the van and only noticed then that Macia was outside.
He quickly helped Mdluli place Macia inside as the community members were approaching and then drove to the police station.
He denied further assaulting Macia at the police holding cells.
The trial continues.