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The Daveyton police killing and return of the Quatro state

Paul Trewhela
01 March 2013

Paul Trewhela says our electoral system has left ordinary citizens powerless to stop abuses

After the death in police hands in Daveyton this week of the Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia (27) - hauled handcuffed behind a moving police van before the eyes of the world on television news services yesterday - South Africa is today faced with the threat of a Quatro state, with an unaccountable police force and an unaccountable political system.

Worldwide media interest in the violent death of model Reeva Steenkamp at the hands of her Olympic hero boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, was succeeded yesterday by the front page of the Daily Sun, with its headline "Murdered by the South African Police Service", waved by angry citizens in Daveyton.

Horrific footage has been shown on television, iPads and cellphones world-wide.

It is now reported across the world that, according to Amnesty International, there were 294 deaths in police custody in South Africa in the 12 months before March 2010. This appalling statistic relates to a period more than two years before the police killings at Marikana last August, preceded as these were by the killing by police -again, on film - of Andries Tatane at Ficksburg in April 2011.

Inmates at Daveyton police station have alleged that Macia was beaten to death by police in the cells, after having been dragged handcuffed to the back of a police van for several hundreds of metres. He was found dead in his cell on Tuesday.

Moses Dlamini, spokesman of the Independent Police Investigation Directorate, stated: "We are shocked by the footage which has been released."

Instead of the civic and democratic constitutional system that South Africans and the world believed had been set in place by the reforms set in place under guidance of Emeritus President Mandela following his release from prison in 1990, the country now finds itself trapped in an unaccountable political system, with unaccountable police killings.

After nearly 20 years of ANC government, this was the model of the ANC in exile, under the reign of terror of its secret police force, Mbokodo, "the grindstone." Immune to demands for individual accountability of office-holders to their members, an arrogant, self-serving political elite responded in that period with ongoing harsh repression. As confirmed in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (1998), killings of dissidents by Mbokodo took place at will, while ANC members who refused to conform found themselves detained without trial for years at a time in Quatro prison camp in northern Angola, often under daily beatings and torture. This was the model for the licensed killings at Ficksburg, Marikana and now Daveyton.

The manhandling and murderous abuse of Mido Macia this week in full public view gives point to increasing calls by eminent public figures in South Africa for a reform of the political system, so as to bring politicians under control of local communities.

Three of the most recent demands for electoral reform were made by Dr Mamphela Ramphele, announcing the formation of a new political party, Agang, which will place electoral reform at the head of its political programme (18 February); by the Cape Town-based political commentator and former Oxford academic, RW Johnson, in a long article on Politicsweb (17 February); and by the Catholic archbishop of Durban, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier (27 January).

In her address announcing the formation of Agang, "Rekindling the South African dream", Mamphela Ramphele stated that South Africa was being "fundamentally undermined by a massive failure of governance. Our rallying cry during the struggle for freedom was for the people to govern, yet the system of choosing Members of Parliament from lists drawn up by political parties gives disproportionate power to party bosses at the expense of ordinary citizens. We should be able to vote for the person in our own area we want to represent us in Parliament, so we can hold them accountable for the electoral promises they make.

"We want an MP for Marikana, an MP for De Doorns, and an MP for Sasolburg, so if the people are unhappy and the MP is not responsive enough, they will be voted out at the next election. South Africa's people are effectively being prevented from governing by the country's electoral system. We will be working with fellow citizens to launch a million signature campaign for electoral reform. Electoral reform must be the first order of business of the post-2014 election parliament."

Just as there is no MP for Marikana, De Doorns or Sasolburg under the current electoral law, so the citizens of Ficksburg and now Daveyton find themselves powerless to insist on justice in the face of police lawlessness.

In his article, "The state of the opposition", RW Johnson has similarly emphasised that "South Africa's bizarre electoral system ... removes all accountability to voters from MPs and hands all power to the party bosses", noting that more and more voices were being raised "against our appalling electoral system."

In the same way, in an article in the Sunday Independent headed "Speaking truth will set our country free", Cardinal Wilfrid Napier  made a searching criticism of the lack of democratic representation under what he descibed as "party list system".

The principal problem with the list system, he wrote, is that "candidates chosen to represent the electorate are failing in their task because they are beholden to the party which can promote or demote them at will and without reference to their performance in the eyes of those they are supposed to serve."

It is high time, he added, that "the findings of the Slabbert Commission [of 2003, into electoral reform] were dusted off, studied, debated and put into practice."

All the more urgently, after the shameless killing of Mido Macia, should these sound and sober criticisms of an increasingly dictatorial political system be "studied, debated and put into practice," as Cardinal Napier has urged.

The alternative, already showing its flagrant brutality, is the Quatro state.

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Comments

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 responses to this article

@Paul Trewhela

Must you really regurgitate the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over.

Is there really nothing new you can add to ANY discourse?

Are you not by now choking on your own vomit? On second thought, I think you . .more

by Frank Talk on March 01 2013, 16:00
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@Paul Trewhela

Are the US and many European states - where police brutality is the order of the day - "Quatro" states as well?

C'mon Paul Trewhela, we are not half as fast asleep as your brain cells would have you believe.

by Frank Talk on March 01 2013, 16:03
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Riah or whatever her name is would be good as a nurse
Nice caring conservative helpful lady. As for being head of police well that looks like an utterly ridiculous job for her. Wonder what she did or does to achieve such a massive over promotion and incorrect promotion? Boggles the mind.

by Boggled on March 01 2013, 17:12
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@FRANK TALK re Paul Trewhela's vomit....

....which you can't swallow, & presumably neither that of RW Johnson either (neither of them Apartheid apologists, by the way).

How about Prof STEPHEN ELLIS's just released (& ANC approved) book:
"EXTERNAL MISSION : The ANC in . .more

by John Austin on March 01 2013, 17:43
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@frank Talk
A good loyal ANC cadre must at all times obfuscate, deny all obvious truths and slander his enemy where and whenever possible, solid marxist teachings. Denialism is the mantra of the ANC and it cannot survive in an open electoral system where there is . .more

by Cynical is good on March 01 2013, 18:50
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Politicsweb
Is there any way of blocking trolls like "frank talk"; it really is off putting , having their puerile venom on the comments page ?

by Kay on March 01 2013, 19:23
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No answer on its own
This is not the answer. The party list system accentuates but is not the cause of SA's basic problem, which is the electoral dominance of the ANC that fosters patronage and corruption and has led over time to a culture of impunity throughout many . .more

by Paul Whelan on March 01 2013, 20:34
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@by Kay on March 01 2013, 19:23
But they compliment the sour propaganda pieces adding a zesty flavor to what would otherwise be a dull repetitious bland portion of copy. Never mind, there is no accounting for taste, or the lack thereof...

by . on March 01 2013, 20:36
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Has Marius Fransman been redeployed for incompetence & nonperformance
and given .'s 'job (LOLOL!) as change-agent on Politicsweb???

by Brett on March 01 2013, 21:27
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@by Brett on March 01 2013, 21:27
No...you are confusing me with Plutarch...

by . on March 01 2013, 22:01
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@by Paul Whelan on March 01 2013, 20:34
The electoral system has not really "failed", but it can be "Improved". What has failed is the inability of opposition parties to offer the voters something they would willingly vote for...regardless of the electoral system. Do you really believe if MPs . .more

by . on March 01 2013, 22:05
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@ Frank Talk
As long as the Z-ANC makes South Africa a Mafia-state or Mbokodo-state it will get the same criticism. Rather than shooting the messenger, you should try to understand Helen Suzman's response to the apartheid minister who accused her of asking questions . .more

by Racist in ANCspeak means someone who knows the truth on March 02 2013, 09:46
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@ . re 'No answer on its own' above
Indeed - that is the point. SA's political situation - an hegemonic ANC - is the result of a substantial majority of those voting continuing to vote ANC and this would not be altered by changes to the voting system - except in (some unknowable number of) . .more

by Paul Whelan on March 02 2013, 10:06
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We need elector reform and elected reform, not electoral reform.
Much as I admire Paul Trewhela, I must disagree with aspects of this article.

"there is no MP for Marikana, De Doorns or Sasolburg under the current electoral law" - this is not true: there are 400 MPs, all of whom took an oath of office to . .more

by v_3 on March 02 2013, 10:15
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@v_3
Your points reinforce that seeing ending party lists as a 'solution' is a simplification. SA's political reality (and democratic deficit) is its one-party dominance - the absence of a credible alternative for voters: Dr Ramphele is correct in seeing that . .more

by Paul Whelan on March 02 2013, 12:57
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Fascism
A state that kills its citizens at the rate that the ANC does, and with the impunity of the ANC, is certainly more totalitarian than democratic. But when the Satlinist discourse of the likes of Gwede Mantasha, Dominic Tweedie, Sdumo Dlamini et al is used . .more

by MG on March 02 2013, 14:49
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CODESA
I am very interested to know how the current system came about ?

Who was present during the negotiations at CODESA and can tell us ?

Mario Oriani-Ambrosini

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Oriani-Ambrosini

Paul . .more

by Bibliophile on March 02 2013, 18:07
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@by Bibliophile on March 02 2013, 18:07
Interesting link. I did not know that a naturalized South African can become an SA MP...I don't know if anyone else needed to be at CODESA as per the link Mario Oriani-Ambrosini seemed to take care of everything. At least we know who to blame (or thank)...

by . on March 02 2013, 18:41
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Naturalised
The only job in the US Gov that you cannot have as a naturalized citizen is that of PRESIDENT

Governor of California ........

THUS

All the conflict around Obama's passport / birth certificate

I am sure there are dual . .more

by Bibliophile on March 02 2013, 18:52
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Quatro state
We never left it ............

Steve Bantu Biko -- whose death in police custody left Jimmy Kruger ........

"His death leaves me cold" — Minister of Police

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Kruger

Do you notice here . .more

by Bibliophile on March 02 2013, 19:03
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@by Bibliophile on March 02 2013, 19:03
Yes, it seems we would be better off with born and bred South Africans...

by . on March 02 2013, 19:44
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Politicians are the employees of the voters
www.directdemocracy.org.za

by Jim on March 04 2013, 04:37
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Scared Sh*tless
What scares the hell out of me is that our system of political party list elections is favoured by the opposition DA. It gives massive power to the corrupt leaders and they use that power ruthlessly to ensure that they are not held accountable. Go and . .more

by Reformer on March 04 2013, 07:13
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Thugocratic rule
Wasn't his thugocracy, the fake king Zumobutu head of the security police that was involved will all the brutal mass killings & torture at ANC's Gulago's Quatro?
Isn't his old "security team" now controlling the State security apparatus?
If so, . .more

by Injala Apera on March 04 2013, 09:54
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Askari Camp
What about the Askari State, the John Voster (suicide) State, the Sharpville (massacre) State, The Winterveld (massacre) State, the Soweto (massacre) State, the Langa (massacre) State, the KaBokweni (massacre) State, the KZN (massacre) State.

Go . .more

by Njandini on March 04 2013, 16:43
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@Dotty and Bibliofile
Yes, I knew that Jimmy Kruger was born in Wales, and all the Afrikaners that I told this t would not believe it.
On the other hand South Africa is far better off for having me in the country even though I was born and brought up in Wales until the age . .more

by Jeff on March 04 2013, 19:53
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Let the Law take its course.
Our society is becoming Lawless. Suddenly we dont respect the SAPS anymore.These same Officers who have protected us and responded to our sos.Those Eight or so Officers who out of sheer frustration and despair acted brutally cannot be the bad apples that . .more

by Joe on March 04 2013, 20:43
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@by Joe on March 04 2013, 20:43
The ranks changed when it moved from being a Police Service to Police Force.

by . on March 04 2013, 22:14
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@by Jeff on March 04 2013, 19:53
Where would the world be without leeks, daffodils, choirs and Tom Jones....okay forget the last one...Zeta-Jones will do just fine...

by . on March 04 2013, 22:16
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police
Opposition also love proportional representation - get all the perks and know that they will never be elected so can criticize and promise and never have to deliver This police brutality and ham fisted invetsigations are the result of poor apppointments . .more

by greg on March 04 2013, 22:23
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The ANC did not have a "culture of innocent until proven guilty"
As some idiot supporting bail for the alleged killers said on TV. The ANC tradition was of kangaroo courts and summary executions in the camps.

How long do they think they can keep up this Mythical History?

by Lyndall Beddy on March 05 2013, 00:23
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An innocent guy draged and beaten to death
Police of daveyton they all corupt its not they first time to kill innocent guys,the well known guy by the name of guily majayivane was killed by police so now as a community we almalgamate our selves and we say no to abuse justice for all

by Theo... on March 06 2013, 22:20
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An innocent guy draged and beaten to death
Police of daveyton they all corupt its not their first time to kill innocent guys,the well known guy by the name of guily majayivane was also killed by police so now as a community we almalgamate our selves and we say no to abuse, justice for all

by Theo... on March 06 2013, 22:22
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Vote for the candidate and not for the ANC party

We must vote for the man or woman and not for this ANC C***.

These idiots hide behind a collective mask - the are spineless, corrupts and stupid people.

The whole country must reject this immediately.

by Sensible on March 09 2013, 16:34
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