Cops ‘tortured’ man to confess protest plot

2011-03-05 16:34

Mpumalanga police have allegedly joined the province’s ANC faction fights, with a community leader claiming he was tortured to implicate senior ­politicians in the recent Ermelo riots.

Dumisani Mahaye (29) is one of more than 100 residents who were arrested for public violence and incitement after ­going on the rampage on February 13, causing damage worth R350?000 to ­municipal property.

Mahaye was arrested on February 20 and released on R800 bail two days later. He alleges that police tortured him and then instructed him to confess that ANC ­provincial executive committee members and Premier David Mabuza’s rivals – Lassy Chiwayo and Fish Mahlalela – as well as ward councillor candidate Bongani Phakathi, gave him money to incite the community.“

A group of about 10 policemen arrived when I was sleeping.

They said they were looking for a firearm and ransacked my house. They beat me up there and then, and took me to the police station’s radio room where they beat me up again. They dipped my head into a bucket of water and suffocated me by putting plastic over my face,” Mahaye said.

He said the police officers held him down. “ Whenever I gave them an answer they didn’t like, I would be strangled, slapped and kicked.“One of them liked kicking or holding my balls. Then they would dip my head in the bucket and put the plastic over my head, and start interrogating me.

 “This happened many times because I didn’t want to confess to anything in the beginning,” he said.

Mahaye said he did not know all the police officers’ names.“The one interrogating me told me that I must confess that Chiwayo, Mahlalela and Phakathi gave me money to incite the community. I don’t even know Chiwayo and ­Mahlalela.

They also forced me to ­confess that I made and distributed ­petrol bombs and tyres,” he added.Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Lindela Mashigo declined to comment on Mahaye’s claims.“The matter is sub judice so I can’t say more about that aspect.

However, if he feels he was tortured, he must report the matter to the Independent Complaints Directorate,” Mashigo said.“The nature of the charges is purely criminal.

We deal with crime, not ­politics,” he added.Mabuza’s camp has accused Chiwayo and Mahlalela of instigating and funding the spate of service delivery protests that have taken place in Mpumalanga.Chiwayo said: “I won’t dignify such nonsense with a response.

I would ­expect police to desist from taking a ­political side.”

Mahlalela said he did not know ­Mahaye. “How can I buy someone I don’t even know?

It looks like the same agenda they’ve tried before. Some people are very desperate,” he said.

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