A Killing in the Winelands

Viewfinder's first documentary film revisits the murder of Letsekang Thokoane, a young shopkeeper, by police during the farm worker strike in De Doorns in 2013. Why were the killers not held accountable? From the scene of the murder in Elubisi township a paper trail leads us to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate's head office in Pretoria to ask this question.

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Police are not held accountable for child killings, watchdog records reveal

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has investigated the killings and deaths in custody of dozens of children since 2012. Almost none of these cases have resulted in convictions. As the justice system moves swiftly on the Nathaniel Julies murder case in Eldorado Park, the police watchdog finds itself at a crossroads. This week IPID’s new head will visit some of the directorate’s provincial offices to give “strategic direction” to ensure that justice is served for police brutality victims and their families. But, can her leadership overcome years of cover-up and dysfunction?

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Latest from this investigation

Parliament failed to vet Cele’s nomination for IPID head

In 2016, the Constitutional Court found that the police minister’s power over the nomination and removal of the IPID head made the police watchdog vulnerable to political manipulation. But, Parliament failed to fully reign in the minister’s powers when it amended the IPID Act last year. Last week, it rubber stamped police minister Bheki Cele’s pick for the IPID head.

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IPID a no-show in Petrus Miggels police assault probe

It has been a month since the police watchdog told Parliament that it would properly investigate allegations that police assaulted Petrus Miggels moments before he died on the first day of lockdown. An investigator has still not returned to the scene of the assault or interviewed key witnesses, according to Miggels’ family.

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NPA and IPID commit to tackling high-level police corruption

The NPA and IPID have recommitted to their collaboration on high-level corruption cases, in response to a report from Viewfinder that the police watchdog had pulled investigators from a joint task team. But, details of the forward going partnership remain vague.

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Police watchdog pulls investigators from State Capture probe

Former officials say that IPID’s recall of two investigators from a task team probing alleged corruption by senior police officers is a ploy to scupper the investigations and to protect former police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane and others from prosecution.

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After the drought: Cape Town’s gushing water

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Our tracking of police killings featured in @nytimes coverage of Nathaniel Julies' murder. We contributed an analysis of alleged police criminality data emanating from Eldorado Park SAPS, including 10 deaths between 2012 - 2019. Article by @lynseychutel https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/21/world/africa/south-africa-police-brutality.html

“I think the South African state ... society, are at a watershed moment this year in the response and reckoning to the impunity, violence and brutality in the police service,” Viewfinder editor Daneel Knoetze in @nytimes. Full report by @lynseychutel https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/21/world/africa/south-africa-police-brutality.html

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