City residents shocked by indifference from the police

2013-03-28 00:00

CASE ONE

PILLAY’S ordeal started on Saturday evening at around eight when she parked her car in front of a friend’s house in Northdale.

As she stepped out, she was attacked by an unknown assailant, who tried to grab her bag.

She screamed and fought back and the man fled.

Pillay later learnt that two women were attacked and robbed earlier in the week.

At Mountain Rise police station, an officer tried to discourage Pillay from opening a case, telling her that she did not know her attacker, that she had not been hurt and that nothing had been stolen.

While this was going on, she overheard a curious officer asking whether she had been assaulted by her husband.

“They were talking as if I was not there,” Pillay said.

They continued to discourage her, saying she would have to pay for the doctor to examine her and would have to spend endless hours in court.

Pillay told them it was her choice and that she wanted a dangerous man off the streets.

That was when the disinterested officer started to record her statement in the magazine he had been reading.

SA Police Service spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said both the complaint against the police and the reported attack would be thoroughly investigated.

Mountain Rise station commander Brigadie Francis Bantham said poor service delivery would not be condoned.

She invited members of the public who are dissatisfied with service at the police station to contact her immediately.

CASE TWO

WHAT does a police officer do when a drunk driver is in a stationary car? Nothing, according to two sets of police officers who called at Heather Huntly’s home in Pelham.

For Huntly, the ordeal began at 4 am on Thursday when she and her husband were woken up by a loud bang outside their house.

They rushed outside to see a car half mounted on their pavement.

The driver appeared drunk and promptly passed out in the driver’s seat.

Huntly called the police.

The first set of officers refused to do anything, saying the car was stationary.

Time passed, with the man still passed out in the car, which was jutting dangerously onto the road,

Huntly called the police again.The second patrol also refused to act until she asked for their names and said she was going to report them.

She said they reluctantly took the driver to the police station.

Her husband went to follow up the matter and was shocked to find that the man had not been given a breathalyser or blood test and was let off scot-free.

Huntly asked who would have been responsible if the man got back into his car in that state and ended up killing someone.

She questioned why the police did not act to maintain safety and prevent a crime.

She said residents in the area had also complained about a man selling alcohol from the boot of his car in the carpark of a nearby supermarket, and again nothing was done.

Jeevan said the incident reported by Huntly would be investigated.

She added that a driver seated in a stationary car can be given a blood test and, if over the limit, can be charged with drunken driving if witnesses give statements testifying to the person’s condition.

• nalini@witness.co.za

A MARITZBURG resident is still getting over the shock of seeing a police officer record her complaint of an assault by an unknown attacker in the magazine that he was reading.

Another resident is fuming that a drunk driver who crashed his car on the pavement in front of her house, before passing out in the driver’s seat, walked away scot- free without having had a breathalyser or blood test.

Psychologist Preshika Pillay, the former director of Rape Crisis in Pietermaritzburg, and Pelham resident Heather Huntley were involved in two separate incidents on separate days. Both were struck by the indifference of the police and their reluctance to act on their cases. They said they had been treated like bothersome women when all they had wanted to do was to prevent others from being harmed.

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