Eight South African policemen have been sacked over the death of a Mozambican migrant who was brutalised in police custody last year.

National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega said on Friday that eight police officers who were involved in Mido Macia's death in 2013 had been dismissed.

"The death of Mido Macia at the hands of these police officers has negatively affected the reputation of the SAPS. The sanction of dismissal is therefore welcomed and we believe it will send the correct message to other officers," Phiyega said.

The 27-year-old taxi driver, Mido Macia, died in police custody on February 26 last year after being arrested for parking his taxi on the wrong side of the road.

Bystanders filmed Macia being manhandled, handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged hundreds of metres in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.

Footage goes viral

Just over two hours later he was found dead in his cell. 

Footage of the incident spread quickly online worldwide, shining a spotlight on the conduct of South Africa's much criticised police force.

Nine officers had originally been suspended without pay over the incident, but one had been found not to have been involved, she said.

The eight men are on bail on charges of murder and are due in court on February 16 next year.

At least two people die in police custody every day in South Africa.

Earlier this year, Johan Burger, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies,said that over the past decade, criminal cases against the police had increased by more than 360 percent from 531 cases in 2001-2002 to 2,493 in 2010-2011. 

Source: Agencies