Probe opened after S.Africa police shoot street vendor
South African police said Thursday they have opened a homicide investigation after a street vendor was shot by an officer during an altercation.
Police in Pretoria were clearing unauthorised vendors from the streets late Wednesday when the altercation began.
"The hawkers started to throw stones on the Metro police, so then they fired some shots," police spokeswoman Agnes Huma told AFP.
She said the man who was hit was in his early 30s and died after being transported to hospital.
Huma said a homicide investigation has been opened.
Shoes Maloka, the head of an association of local traders, told South Africa's SAPA news agency that the street vendor, Jan Rivombo, was shot at point-blank range by a police who "wanted to take the bananas".
He said police put Rivombo into the back of a vehicle and did not call an ambulance for three hours, and arrested traders who urged them to transport Rivombo to the hospital.
Tensions are high between South Africans and the police, who are viewed as using excessive force in keeping public order, most notably when shooting dead 34 striking workers at a platinum mine in August 2012.
In another notorious recent case, a Mozambican taxi driver died in custody last year after having been dragged behind a police van.
© 2014 AFP