Highlighting the extent of Macia's injuries, in the Benoni Magistrate's Court on Monday, senior prosecutor December Mthimunye labelled the nine policemen accused of killing him "ruthless". The nine are applying for bail in a case that made international headlines with footage of Macia being dragged behind a police van.
Macia's injuries "demonstrated the level of violence the accused were used to meting out", said Mthimunye. "He died from hypoxia, he could not get oxygen into his body and brain, it was slow and painful, none of them cared."There were no organs that were not damaged , [not] his heart, lungs or spleen . everywhere you look, severe bruising to his arms shows he was desperately trying to fight for his life, his testes were severely swollen showing huge trauma, a clear sign of 'torture' beating, which no one can explain. "When he arrived at the station his pants were missing, he was crying, begging for help. They took him to the cell- blood splatters on the walls and floor attest to the ferociousness [of the beatings]," said Mthimunye.
Fighting back, the lawyers for the Daveyton, Ekurhuleni policemen tried to show the state witnesses up as liars who were masterminding the downfall of "honest and hard-working officers". The lawyers shocked the court by saying that Macia had allegedly sustained his fatal injuries days before his death - in a crash while driving a group of children home from a school trip to Mpumalanga. "He killed five children, he is responsible for the death of five innocent lives and now the state is trying to blame his death on nine innocent men," said advocate Elias Tshole.
Tempers flared and magistrate Samuel Makamu warned both legal teams to behave "ethically" as they clashed.Throughout yesterday's proceedings, the nine accused- Meshack Malele, Thasanqa Ncema, Percy Mnisi, Bongumusa Mdluli, Sipho Ngobeni, Lungisa Ewababa, Bongani Kolisi, Linda Sololo and Matome Ramatlou - kept their heads bowed. Affidavits presented by the state - repeatedly rubbished by the policemen's attorneys - give a glimpse of the last agonising moments of Macia's life as he lay in a pool of blood in a cell at the Daveyton police station, pleading for help. His pleas, according to Mthimunye, fell on deaf ears, with neither his attackers nor police in the charge office phoning for an ambulance. Macia died hours after he was allegedly attacked by the officers, who tried to arrest him for allegedly having resisted arrest over an apparent traffic violation.
Mthimunye said it was clear from two autopsy reports that Macia's death had been terrifying. He accused the policemen of destroying evidence and of intimidation: "These are ruthless people who think nothing of using their power to destroy evidence. Evidence, crucial to the case has already disappeared. Witnesses, including their colleagues, are under potential threat. "It is so bad that instead of a murder docket they simply opened an inquest docket, which no one questioned. It was deliberate to ensure no one would ever be charged, that all of this would simply disappear. "This is how far they are prepared to go. They deliberately flouted standard policing procedures," he said. Defence lawyer Tshole said the state had no case and that Macia was no angel. "The deceased is not the man everyone is making him out to be, no one in the community is angry about this, people know just days before he died he was involved in a horrific accident that killed five innocent children." He said medical experts for the defence would show that Macia's injuries were sustained in the accident and that he died of "natural causes". Tshole questioned the cancellation of the state's identity parade. "Why? Because they have no witnesses. they say they have Mozambicans who can testify, but are afraid to come forward .
''Are you telling me in this South African township there are no South Africans who saw what happened who are not afraid to come forward?" Tshole rubbished the claim that evidence had gone missing: "The state alleges it went missing, but when did it go missing? While it was in the investigating officers' possession? They make these outlandish claims but cannot back them up." Outside the court, police had to form a protective barricade and escort the policemen's legal team to their vehicles and out of Benoni. Police called for backup when the protesters refused to disperse. "This will not be forgotten, you are meant to serve and protect, not murder and rape," screamed a woman.