Brutal treatment by South African police shocks world

Eight South African police officers who tied a 27-year-old taxi driver to the rear of a police van and dragged him down the road, causing injuries from which he later died in a police cell, have been suspended from duty. The brutal act was caught on video by a witness to the incident in the township of Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, and was later shown on television, sparking fierce condemnation from many quarters.

The South African President Jacob Zuma has called for an investigation and described the police treatment as “horrifying”and that “no human being should be treated in such a way”.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is probing the incident and the station commander in Daveyton has been removed from office.

It was the latest in a series of brutal police acts in South Africa and has prompted Amnesty International to urge the South African Government to stamp out the use of excessive force and deliberate killings by police.

It is understood the taxi driver was arrested for allegedly parking badly and blocking traffic flow.

The IPID received 720 new cases of suspicious deaths in custody or in other police contexts between April 2011 and March 2012.

One of the worst brought an international outcry last August when police shot and killed 31 miners taking strike action against working conditions.