Eight police officers convicted of murdering taxi driver Mido Macia by handcuffing and dragging him from a police vehicle in 2013 have had their convictions upheld by the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
Mishack Malele, Thamsanqa Ngema, Percy Jonathan Mnisi, Bongani Mdluli, Sipho Sidwell Ngobeni, Lungisa Gwabada, Bongani Kolisi and Linda Sololo - all police officers at the time - were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment each in 2015.
It was found that they collaborated in handcuffing Macia to a police van and dragging him from the moving vehicle in full view of members of the public.
The officers appealed their conviction in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA), saying all the facts were not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The SCA granted them leave to appeal, but on Monday the High Court dismissed the application.
The full bench ruled that the court was not misdirected when it found that all the officers were on the scene and acted together when they handcuffed and dragged Macia from the moving vehicle.
"A post-mortem report submitted to the trial court indicated that the deceased died as a result of extensive soft tissue injuries and hypoxia. These injuries were found by the trial court to have been inflicted by the accused persons," Phindi Mjonondwane, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Gauteng, said in a statement.
"The full bench therefore concurred with the trial court that the State discharged the onus of proving beyond any reasonable doubt that all accused are guilty of murder under the principle of dolus eventualis," Mjonondwane said.
The NPA's acting Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate George Baloyi, condemned this police brutality, saying: "This ruling serves as a deterrent and we hope it will encourage police officers to conduct themselves in accordance with the law."
In November 2018, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ordered that the government pay Macia's family compensation for his death.
The family's lawyer, Jose Nascimento, did not reveal the amount the court had instructed the state to pay out.
"We have agreed with government and the court to a confidentiality clause, which will help [ensure] that the family is not placed in danger. We are happy that the South African government decided to come to an agreement and avoided a full-blown trial, which was not going to be a good one and this was a sensible settlement," Nascimento said at the time.
The family had initially submitted a R6.5m claim against the South African government, but settled for less, which Nascimento said was "in the interest of the family and the public".
A video of the incident went viral, causing international outrage.