Ricochet News

SACP Eastern Cape wants killing of Keiskamahoek protester allegedly by police fully investigated

Mar 22, 2018
SACP Eastern Cape wants killing of Keiskamahoek protester allegedly by police fully investigated

The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Eastern Cape said it learnt with a great sense of sadness and concern about the shooting to death of a protester by the police at the community protest at the Keiskamahoek, Amahlathi Local Municipality in Amathole.

"Thembekile Fana, 62, was shot and killed during a community protest on Monday. We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased and the community of Amahlathi. May his soul rest in peace," said Siyabonga Mdodi, SACP Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson.  

"As the SACP, we condemn with the strongest contempt possible the shooting and killing of the protesters and any form of harm by the police.

"We are calling upon the law enforcement authorities to exercise restraint and caution when dealing with protesting communities to avoid injuries and loss of life.

"The relevant authorities should get to the bottom of what led to the loss of life and injuries and ensure that those found to be responsible for such a horrible and regrettable act are brought to book to fully account for their deeds.

"We are calling upon Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to rise to the occasion and establish the reason(s) behind this unfortunate incident without any fear or favour."

An estimated more than 2 000 community members blocked the public road with burning tryes, stones and damaging police and IPID vehicles, according to police information. 

"Public Order Police members were summoned to manage the situation. They dispersed the angry crowd with rubber bullets and 20 suspects were arrested for public violence," said police spokesperson, Captain Nkosikho Mzuku.

"Police said that they were later informed that a 62-year-old man had passed away.

"The exact circumstances surrounding the incident is not yet known. Ipid are investigating a case of murder. The autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death."

Mdodi said that as the SACP, they are of the firm view that this incident is as the result of the lack of adequate response by both the local and provincial government to the challenges faced by the communities and the concerns they raised "as the protest at Amahlathi was not the first one but a continuation after the communities registered their concerns and demands long time ago".

"It is in this context that as the party, we are calling for an urgent alliance led intervention in the area to instil calm and adequately respond to the socio-economic challenges of the people."

An emergency court was organised and all the suspects were released on warning with stringent bail conditions.

"The case was remanded for 29 March 2018 for further investigation," said Captain Mzuku.