Crime intelligence squad beat Hammarsdale man fatally in front of family

2011-02-19 00:00

NHLANHLA Luthuli’s family say he died not because of what he knew, but because of what he did not know.

Luthuli, a 40-year-old Durban Metro municipal employee who lived in Hammarsdale, was viciously attacked and assaulted in his home in October last year in front of his 11-year-old son, allegedly by 15 policemen from the crime intelligence unit (CIU) of Pinetown and the notorious Tactical Response Team (TRT) from Inanda. He would later die from his injuries.

“They [the group of policemen] came knocking on the door loudly with guns just before midnight, screaming and shouting that they wanted a gun that was stolen from one of the policemen’s house,” recalled his live-in partner, Amanda Ncube, the mother of his son.

“They searched the house and found nothing and my husband told them that he knew nothing about the gun. Then they started assaulting him in front of me and our son until he became unconscious,” she said.

She said the police officers tried to revive him by pouring ice cubes and cold water on his face, but when he didn’t respond they loaded him into a police minibus and drove off with him before dumping him, say witnesses, on the side of a road where he was found by early morning commuters.

Hloni Ngubane, a close family friend of the Luthulis, rushed to the scene with Luthuli’s wife and sister.

“When I got to the scene, his face and head were badly swollen but there were no open wounds on his body besides the boot marks on his chest and back to show that he had been kicked by the police,” he said.

“He was only dressed in his underwear. The policemen had taken his tracksuit pants and top, his two cellphones and running shoes that he had on when they took him from his house the previous night,” claimed Ngubane.

When Luthuli was asked by relatives what had happened to him, the only words he could mutter, say family members, were “take me to hospital before the cops come and finish me off”.

On his way to hospital, Luthuli’s heart stopping beating and he died in the back seat of a double-cab bakkie.

His distressed older brother, Mbukiseni Luthuli (47), said it is a “known fact” in KwaZulu-Natal that people disappear or get killed by the police if they talk back to them.

“There is a huge problem with the police in KZN. We are not happy with their conduct because they are victimising the same communities that they are meant to protect,” he said.

The 15 policemen, who were charged with murder, will appear in the Hammarsdale Magistrate’s Court on April 15.

There is a huge problem with the police in KZN. We are not happy with their conduct because they are victimising the same communities that they are meant to protect. Mbukiseni Luthuli, victim’s brother

 

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