Minister ordered to pay police assault victims

2014-06-20 00:00

THE minister of Police is to pay R50 000 in damages to two unemployed men from Ezakheni, near Ladysmith, who were­ illegally detained and assaulted by police in 2010.

Police had initially opposed the application by Simphiwe and Thokozani Mathebula who between them claimed a total sum of R750 000 for the allegedly malicious conduct of two policemen, identified as Thabang Oone and Sishange Mlungisi of the Ezakheni police station.

However, the case was settled this week without going to trial, and in terms of the order granted yesterday by Judge Gregory Kruger, the two men will receive a total payment of R50 000 in settlement of their claim against the state.

Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko was also ordered to pay the legal costs.

According to the court papers, the policemen forcefully entered the Mathebulas’ residence in Ezakheni on February 12, 2010 without a warrant and assaulted the men “in full view of other ­family members and neighbours”.

They then handcuffed the two, pushed them into a police van and took them to the Ezakheni police station where they were again assaulted and illegally detained for more than 10 hours.

Before being released, the police told them that they had “thought” they were in possession of illegal firearms but since none were found in their possession they were free to go.

The claim against the police was based on damages the men suffered as a result of being denied medical treatment; that they were ­detained in cells together with people ­accused of serious crimes when other empty cells were available; were denied basic facilities, and that the police had “hurled abuse” at them in front of other detainees and members at the ­police ­station.

They said they were humiliated, suffered stress and mental trauma and their constitutional rights to freedom and “the right to be treated in a humane manner” were denied to them.

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