Wrongly accused boyfriend wants cops punished for 'torturing me'

2016-03-09 11:22

Johannesburg - It's been four years since police allegedly arrested and tortured Oliver Matlala, the boyfriend of Nandi Mbizane, a business consultant who vanished from her home one night. 

Although it has since been discovered that Nandi was killed by her ex-lover, businessman Zwelibanzi Zungu, Matlala said he still battled to come to terms with what police had done to him, and he wanted justice to be done.

He told News24 that he had knocked on several doors, including those of lawyers and the IPID, but he had been told that it was too late for him to get assistance. 

"They said they couldn't help me because the time period set down for investigations had lapsed," said Matlala. 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate, however, said this was incorrect and would be willing to assist him in his cause. 

"We have a period of 20 years allowance with which people can lay a complaint," IPID spokesperson Grace Langa said. 

Matlala took News24 through the events that led to him being allegedly tortured. 

He had been dating Nandi for just a few days when he spent the night at her house. In the middle of the night, they woke up to find Zungu in the house. Both he and Nandi were allegedly beaten by Zungu. Matlala bled profusely from the head. 

Matlala said after being badly assaulted by Zungu, the jealous ex-lover forced him to leave Nandi's house. He took Nandi's car and went home, before heading to hospital, but the next day he got a call from Nandi's friend saying no one had heard from her since the previous day.

He, Nandi's friend and the police went back to Nandi's complex. They broke down the door down and found the house in shambles. Nandi was nowhere to be found and Matlala was arrested on charges relating to kidnapping.

'They electrocuted me'

On his first day behind bars, police had questioned him about Nandi's whereabouts for hours on end, even questioning why he had tattoos, implying he had been in jail before.

Matlala was released a day later, only to be arrested again after a few days.

This time, he was allegedly tortured for two days, even being electrocuted. 

"First, they tried to suffocate me, saying I should speak the truth. They put water in the surgical glove and then held it to my face while pressing it down with a cloth," said Matlala.

"There were around ten police officers there. And at this point, they had tied my hands and feet," he said.

The interrogation allegedly went on for hours, with the officers demanding to know where Nandi was.  

At around 3:00, Matlala said they took him from a Pretoria police station to the Germiston Organised Crime Unit offices in the East Rand.

"They tied my hands behind my back. There was a black bag there, but I didn't know what was inside. They then took off my shoes and tied wires around my toes. That is when they electrocuted me..." said Matlala.

Again, the torture allegedly went on for hours on end. 

"They forced me to get up and said they would continue to do this if I didn't. I could not even move my finger," he said. 

Thrown out of police vehicle

At this point, Matlala said he feared they would kill him. 

After hours of torture, the police allegedly drove Matlala back from Germiston to his mother's house in Bramley. 

He says he was then thrown out of the police vehicle.

Police investigations continued after that and DNA evidence found at Nandi's home positively linked Zungu to the crime scene. In November 2015, he was convicted of Nandi's murder and sentenced to life behind bars. Nandi's body, however, was never found. 

Matlala said he had wanted to see Nandi's case finalised before going after the police who attacked him.

He said he harboured a lot of anger over what the police had done to him. 

"I have been living with that for the past few years. I am okay physically, but I never got even a day of counselling, so that still affects me. At times I wake up with my body shaking from it," he said. 

He said he hoped that the harshest punishment would be meted out against those who had attacked him.

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