South African authorities have suspended eight officers accused of killing taxi driver Mido Macia, who was filmed being handcuffed to the back of a police van and dragged to his death in a Johannesburg suburb.

The local police commander has been removed from his post and an internal investigation opened after a video of the incident recorded by a bystander went viral online.

"We are equally outraged with what happened," South Africa's police chief Riah Phiyega said.

Macia, a 27-year-old Mozambican taxi driver, was reportedly arrested in the suburb of Daveyton during a row with police officers who had accused him of parking on the wrong side of the road.

Macia resisted being forced into the back of the police van and after a prolonged scuffle involving a number of officers, footage taken at the scene showed him tied to the back of the vehicle which was then driven off.

"It is obvious that the rights of Mido Macia were violated in the most extreme form," Phiyega said.

Macia was taken to a local police station where he was beaten up, according South Africa's Daily Sun newspaper, which first posted the video online.

According to a post mortem examination Macia suffered head and abdominal injuries, including internal bleeding.

"The behaviour displayed in that video, when committed by police who are expected to serve and protect, is to be abhorred by all right-thinking people," Phiyega said.

"I have instructed that the officers involved be disarmed. We are also removing the station commander of Daveyton police station from his position so that investigations can proceed uninhibited."