Maputo — The South African ambassador to Mozambique, Charles Nqakula, on Wednesday pledged that South Africa will provide logistical support to the family of Mido Macia, the Mozambican taxi-driver murdered by South African police in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, last week.
Interviewed by the independent daily "O Pais", Nqakula said the embassy is in continual contact with the family to provide any kind of support deemed necessary.
"Right now, as we are talking, there are South African leaders who are working with the family of Mido Macia", he said. "His father is in South Africa dealing with details of transferring the body to Mozambique for the funeral. There are people from our government, the municipality and the provincial government who are in the Daveyton area to assist in everything that the family needs".
According to Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, the South African government has formally apologised for the death of Macia. All diplomatic contacts had been activated to ensure that there is a full explanation of the events leading to the death of Macia.
The Mozambican government, Baloi added, is following the legal case in South Africa against the eight policemen accused of the murder of Macia. They are due to appear in court on Friday, where a judge will decide whether to grant them bail.
Macia's offence was that he had parked his car awkwardly, and the police said it was blocking the traffic. In the ensuing altercation, the police tied Macia to the back of their van, which then drove off, dragging Macia along the tarred road for about 400 metres. A couple of hours later he died in Daveyton police station of head injuries and internal bleeding.
Over 2,000 people attended a ceremony on Daveyton on Wednesday, paying tribute to Macia, and demanding justice. There was a strong presence from the Mozambican community in Daveyton, who rejected attempts by the local police command to attend. When police officers did show up, the hostile reaction obliged them to withdraw. Nonetheless, a police contingent was nearby to guarantee that the ceremony could pass off without incident.
Among those comforting the Macia family was Graca Machel, widow of Mozambique's first President, Samora Machel, and now married to the former South African President, Nelson Mandela.
Speaking to reporters, she said she attended the ceremony out of a sense of solidarity with a fellow Mozambican, and to show her outrage at what had happened.
According to the Mozambican High Commissioner in South Africa, Fernando Fazenda, all preparations are in hand for transferring Macia's body to Mozambique on Friday.
Fazenda urged the Mozambican community not to embark on any acts of revenge, but to "remain firm in the brotherhood that unites the two peoples".