Man wins assault case against SAPS

2010-03-17 00:00

A FORMER Tongaat man, Mathava Naidoo, who was so severely assaulted by Tongaat detectives in August 2000 that he suffered broken ribs, was awarded damages totalling R140 408,02 by Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Themba Sishi yesterday.

Sishi said in doing so he aligned himself with remarks made by another judge, who said that when police are holding prisoners in detention and resort to the kind of treatment that was meted out to the plaintiff, the court must make an award that in money terms expresses its disapproval of the seriousness, brutality, and humiliating effects of such treatment.

Sishi awarded Naidoo R125 000 in that regard.

In addition, the court awarded him R2 008,02 for past hospital expenses, and R13 400 for future hospital expenses.

The minister of Safety and Security was also ordered to pay the court costs. Sishi ruled on August 7, 2006 that the minister (as the employer of the SAPS members) was liable to compensate Naidoo.

Naidoo testified in the trial that the assaults occurred when he was picked up and questioned about a housebreaking offence by police at Tongaat police station. They also asked him how it came about that he owned a big house and two cars, he said.

He said during the assaults by five Indian policemen — which lasted three hours and 30 minutes — he was tied to a chair with a rope, his mouth was bound; he was slapped, punched and kicked with booted feet. Two policemen also poured water over his head and struck him with a rubber hose. He was forced to drink his own urine and after the assaults was left lying injured on the floor.

Police never offered him medical assistance and he was only taken to a hospital for treatment the next day when his wife found out about the assaults and called his doctor and attorney.

He was diagnosed with three fractured ribs, as well as swelling of his eyes, blurred vision and an injury to his elbow.

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