Sunday, April 25, 1999 Published at 21:49 GMT 22:49 UK
Mbeki: Apartheid behind police violence
Post-apartheid South Africa still faces immense challenges
The South African Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, has denounced recent police brutality and blamed it on the legacy of apartheid.
He was referring to the BBC report which showed police beating and kicking suspected car thieves.
Under apartheid there was a "culture that developed among police, that they could get rid of people by any means that they wished", he said.
However, he said if police broke the law, they should be prosecuted.
Six white police officers were suspended last week and are due to face criminal charges.
Police have said another eight officers, some of them black, will be suspended on Monday.
It showed members of a Johannesburg police squad kicking suspected car thieves in the face, stubbing out a cigarette on one, and setting a police dog on them.
Another section of the tape featured police beating a suspected car thief with a rifle after dragging him and another man semi-conscious from a car crash.
Police commissioner George Fivaz has ordered an independent inquiry into the incidents.
Some observers said police brutality should be put down to the stress of fighting the high levels of crime that have followed the country's transition to democracy.
Some 1,000 police officers have been murdered since the end of apartheid in 1994.