, JOHANNESBURG, Mar 2 – The South African government said Saturday it has begun efforts to help repatriate the body of a Mozambican man who died in police custody after being dragged behind a patrol van.
The department of home affairs said it was in touch with the family of Emidio Macia to help them arrange for his body to return home.
“We have been in touch with the family and the Mozambican Embassy to discuss the necessary documentation required for the repatriation and burial,” said spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa.
The 27-year-old taxi driver, who lived in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, died Tuesday after being severely beaten by police officers and dragged behind their van after they accused him of obstructing traffic.
Video footage taken by bystanders using a cell phone camera shows a scuffle between him and a group of officers, who then handcuffed him to their patrol van and dragged him through the street to a police station.
He later died in custody, prompting a national and international outcry over police brutality.
A post mortem found the cause of death was head injuries with internal bleeding.
On Friday, eight police officers implicated in the incident and the station commander of Daveyton police station were suspended from their jobs, pending a murder investigation by the police watchdog.
President Jacob Zuma earlier condemned the killing as “horrific, disturbing and unacceptable”.
On Friday, Nomvula Mokonyane, the premier of Gauteng province, which includes the city of Johannesburg, said Macia’s family had a right to sue for the death.
“Every affected family that feels that their rights have been undermined by the state… have the right to take the state to the cleaners,” she told the family during her visit.
“And only the rightful members of that family – the next-of-kin – can actually do that,” she said, adding that government would pay for the education of his children.