Being black not a crime says KZN premier, as he slams lack of US police co-operation on Myeni's shooting
KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala has lambasted the Honolulu police department for its lack of co-operation in releasing information on the death of rugby player Lindani Myeni, who was shot by police there two weeks ago.
In a statement on Thursday, Zikalala, said there had been “numerous attempts to get assistance from the police regarding reports and critical information which to date have yielded no results.
“To add salt into the wound, the Consul-General, Ms Babalwa Sunduza and the Myeni family have advised us that the police have not even co-operated with the request to return the deceased's missing items, including his phone, ring and headphones.”
Myeni was fatally shot during an altercation with three police officers who responded to a burglary call at a house in Nuuanu in Hawaii, where Myeni lived with his wife and two children.
Partial body cam footage and a report by Hawaii police showed Myeni, who hailed from the KZN north coast, in an altercation with the officers. However Myeni's widow, Lindsay, who is now in SA and is addressing media on Thursday, has repeatedly called for police to release all the body cam footage.
Zikalala said the lack of co-operation by the US police showed an “apparent lack of value for human life”.
“Judging by their attitude, we can only conclude that they lack respect for black lives. We call on the people of this province, the country, Africa and the world not to keep quiet about this injustice.
“Being black is not a scourge. It is not a crime. But when you consider the conduct of the police in Honolulu, you begin to realise that they’re not taking this incident seriously. They are behaving as if nothing happened. It’s as if this life didn’t matter at all. A person was killed here, not a fly. This was someone’s son, husband, father and friend who died under very questionable circumstances. The least we expect from them is some transparency and accountability.
“As a country with a painful history of race-based violence, an incident such as this one touches a raw nerve in us, because our wounds are still very fresh. This injustice cannot, and should not, be left unchallenged.”
He called on South Africans to challenge the injustice and “rise up and make a strong statement against this abomination”.
Zikalala said he called on the US presidency to intervene in the matter.
Meanwhile, he said that Myeni's remains were expected to arrive in SA on Friday and that the body would be released into the family's care on Saturday. Zikalala said the cabinet had decided to support the repatriation of Myeni's body to Esikhaleni and funeral arrangements.