Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
19 April 2011

CASAC media statement on death of Andries Tatane

MEDIA STATEMENT BY CASAC

18 April 2011

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) welcomes the decision taken by the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) to lay charges against six of the police officers allegedly responsible for the assault and murder of Andries Tatane. We are pleased that swift action has been taken to bring to justice those whose actions outraged the nation.

We are eager to ensure that in addition to the rights of the family of the deceased being protected, the constitutional rights of freedom of association, of assembly and freedom of expression are also duly respected.

CASAC has been in contact with the family of Andries Tatane, and has offered to provide legal support including a watching brief over the criminal prosecution of the six police officers, as well as exploring other legal remedies that the family may wish to pursue. A representative of CASAC is scheduled to meet with Lefu Tatane, brother, of Andries, in Ficksburg tomorrow (Tuesday 19 April). The SA Human Rights Commission and CASAC will co-operate in ay civil claim that the family may elect to launch.

A formal complaint regarding the excessive and unjustified use of force that led to the killing of Andries Tatane has also been lodged with the Human Rights Commission by CASAC. We have specifically requested an investigation into:

  1. 1. whether the use of force contributed directly or indirectly to the death;
  2. 2. whether such use of force as may be found was justified in the circumstances;
  3. 3. whether the members of the SAPS involved in the incident should be held accountable for their actions;
  4. 4. whether the SAPS has taken appropriate action to deal with this incident;
  5. 5. whether any breach of the Constitution or any statute occurred in this matter; and
  6. 6. to recommend appropriate action in the event of any breaches of the law.   

The Chairman of CASAC, Sipho M Pityana, has also sent an open letter to the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, calling on the government to review its approach to the policing of citizen protests. The letter further requests the Minister to urgently make a statement to Parliament setting out the action he proposes to take to ensure public confidence in the police, and to instruct the National Commissioner of Police to seek an engagement with the Portfolio Committee on Police regarding the issue of public order policing. The full text of the open letter is available at www.casac.org.za.

Enquiries:

Lawson Naidoo

Executive Secretary

CASAC

Cell: 073 158 5736

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