Interracial marriage angers town’s cops

2012-04-14 15:37

Only a fence separates Theo Deetlef’s home and business from the police station in Machadodorp, Mpumalanga.

His proximity to the police station should make Deetlef (51) the envy of his neighbours in the sleepy town – but, he says, it’s the worst spot in town.

He claims that his marriage to a black woman, Tinny Deetlef (51), three years ago has turned local police officers against him and seen his two businesses slowly destroyed.

He relocated to Machadodorp from Richard’s Bay, KwaZulu-Natal, in 1999 to look after his sick mother.

Deetlef said his ordeal began when one policeman allegedly moaned to residents that “Theo het ‘n k****r m**d getrou (Theo has married a black maid).”

The officer accused of the racial slur, Inspector Brendan Watt, vehemently denied the allegation this week.

Mpumalanga police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Hlathi came out in support of Watt.

“That man is mentally disturbed. I’m busy with a civil claim against him and won’t speak about this matter now,” Watt said.

“He has a problem with everybody in town but his wife is, in actual fact, a very decent lady,” he added.

Deetlef claimed that police never called his tow truck company to accident scenes and that advertisements for his guesthouse have been pulled down all over town.

Last August he was attacked by two men in his house and stabbed 42 times. He claims the police told him they had no van available to pursue the suspects, whom he chased past the police station on foot after the attack.

A furious Deetlef told City Press: “This is f***ing Orania, broer. I didn’t grow up in a racist environment like this – I want to go back to Richard’s Bay. I know no colour. My first girlfriend was Indian,” he said.

Deetlef has laid a charge against a police officer for allegedly manhandling him when the officer tried to force him to leave an accident scene.

A Machadodorp resident, Sibongile Mkhoza (41), has written an affidavit claiming that when she had an accident on January 18 this year, police and staff from Trans African Concessions (Trac), the company that manages the N4 freeway, discouraged her from using Deetlef’s services.

“At the scene, police and Trac people tell me to take Roelf’s breakdown (sic) because it’s not expensive.

“The police and Trac people should not force and harass people on the scene telling them who to use,” Mkhonza wrote.

Hlathi said that all Deetlef’s complaints against the police were found to be baseless. “When police were investigating his complaints, he didn’t cooperate and when the station commissioner meets with tow truck owners, Deetlef doesn’t attend,” Hlathi

Tinny Deetlef said she, too, had experienced racism – she doesn’t even dare attend the local church.

“The whites of this town go to church and they’re Christians.

“But they wouldn’t let me in. Small towns are just a big problem,” she said.

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