Rasta killing sparks protest

RASTAFARIANS are up in arms after a Cape Town metro police officer allegedly gunned down one of their own.

Organisers of a Rastafarian march on Parliament said yesterday that DJ Champion Nhlapo was shot by police on April 15 this year in Marcus Garvey informal settlement, Philippi, Cape Town.

They blamed this on the police ministry's "shoot to kill" policy.

More than 500 Rastafarians blockaded the entrance to Parliament holding up placards saying "Fire Burn U, Mr Shoot 2 Kill".

Carrying photos of Steve Biko and banners reading "Africa for Africans, those at home and abroad", the Rastafarians burnt herbs in front of about 50 police officers guarding Parliament.

"We are coming here to protest against police brutality against our people," said a speaker.

"Law enforcers have never been citizen-friendly to us, since apartheid. We want space in Parliament to address them about this."

Rastafarian El Fire told Sowetan that the group had chosen Africa Day for the protest because Rastafarians across the country were tired of being targeted by the police.

"Until this day, we see that we are not eating the fruits of democracy," said El Fire.

City spokesperson Kylie Hatton did not respond to questions on the issue.

Bongile Mbotwe, special adviser to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, received the protesters' memorandum.

Mbotwe said he would send the memorandum to the Independent Complaints Directorate for it to be investigated.