New cases surface of torture by police

2011-07-13 00:00

SEVERAL police officers could face arrest as the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) investigates new cases of police brutality and torture.

Spokesperson Moses Dlamini said yesterday the ICD is investigating numerous cases that involved criminal suspects being tortured, but he could not say how many cases there are.

Last Friday the ICD arrested Warrant Officer S.C. Ngcobo and constables M.F. Xaba and S.G. ­Ntuli in connection with the death of an inmate during police questioning in Harburg near Wartburg in the midlands.

It is alleged that the officers tortured the suspect to death.

The three officers appeared in court and were released on R5 000 bail on condition they do not interfere with the witnesses and hand over their firearms to their police station.

In a statement the ICD said that in June this year inmates who were appearing in court were suspected of smuggling cigarettes back to their cells.

Officers who were conducting cell visits found that the detainees had been smoking and they searched the cells.

They allegedly assaulted the detainees in their office to find out who had smuggled the tobacco.

It is alleged that the officers used a plastic bag to suffocate the detainees to extract the information. One of the detainees died, the statement added.

The ICD said its investigator found the bag allegedly used by the policemen and the post mortem found that the deceased had been murdered.

Dlamini said they were investigating a number of cases involving suspects who have been tortured by the police.

The Democratic Alliance’s provincial leader and community safety spokesperson, Sizwe Mchunu, hailed the ICD for its swift action and called on new head of the ICD in KZN, Baatseba Matlhale, to make police brutality her number one priority.

Police spokesperson Vincent Mdunge said he is not aware of the case involving the three officers, but added that they could be suspended within 10 days as required by labour legislation.

“The labour law requires that a person be notified of the pending suspension and given a chance to respond why he should not be suspended, this process is often completed within 10 days.”

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