Man alleges torture by police

2014-02-21 00:00

A 23-YEAR-OLD Pietermaritzburg man claims he was beaten and tortured for hours by police who allegedly tried to force a confession about stolen vehicles out of him.

Siphesihle Ngcobo, an employee at the Pietermaritzburg Hyundai dealership, said the detectives suspected him of being involved in the theft of vehicles from the dealership in December and January, when five vehicles were stolen.

Ngcobo and a colleague were allegedly assaulted during the course of their interrogation. Attempts to speak to the colleague were unsuccessful.

He said the vehicles were apparently driven off the premises. The police had questioned all the employees and put them through polygraph tests.

Two weeks ago, two men who identified themselves as detectives took him to the detectives’ building at Pietermaritzburg police station, said Ngcobo. It was there, he claimed, that they tortured him.

Ngcobo said he was threatened, assaulted and tortured by the detectives, who had grown to a group of six, for more than six hours.

“They all demanded that I tell them about the cars that were stolen and asked where I was keeping those cars,” he said.

As Ngcobo insisted on his innocence, the police began to torture him to get him to confess, he charged.

When he was finally released that afternoon, he went to a doctor and had his injuries assessed.

“I was limping, my hands were sore and my face was bruised.”

Ngcobo says he went to the station to open a case, only to be told that this was a minor incident and the police had used minimum force.

A colleague said Ngcobo could barely walk when he returned from the police.

Hyundai regional director Gideon van Rensburg said the two employees who were picked up for questioning by the police in relation to the thefts said they were assaulted by officers. “We told them they should go and open cases with the police.”

Approached for comment, the police would only confirm they were investigating a case of assault.

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