Cops failed to charge reservist who slapped woman — protesters

2013-02-12 00:00

MARIANNHILL police have been accused of failing to open an assault case against a police reservist at the station after he had allegedly assaulted a woman last Wednesday morning.

The alleged assault happened during a march by a group of residents from St Wendolin’s wards 16 and 17 to the Ingqalabutho Community Hall to protest alleged corruption and a lack of transparency in the allocation of RDP houses in the area.

March leader Mgcini Mlangeni alleged that police blocked their way about two kilometres from the hall, telling them to disperse because they did not have a permit for the march.

“We were thrown from pillar to post when we applied for the permit. Since the Bill of Rights provides a right to peaceful and unarmed protest, to free assembly, to demonstrate and picket, we decided to go ahead with the action,” said Mlangeni.

He said they were trying to persuade the police to let them continue with the march when a reservist slapped Nonhlanhla Mashinini in the face.

The reservist, who The Witness can confirm is a prominent political figure in the area, is alleged to have reacted to a remark by Mashinini that politicians were using the police service to suppress service delivery protests when he struck her.

Said Mashinini: “He humiliated me in front of the community and the police. I want to know why the police have refused to open an assault charge against this man. These people are bad news,” she said.

Mlangeni said he and some community members accompanied Mashinini to the area police station to lay an assault charge.

“At the station, two officers [names known to The Witness] took Mashinini and myself to an office and asked us to recount the unfolding of events, which we did. The two officers asked if it would be fine if the reservist apologised to the complainant, to which we responded that there should be an assault charge and imminent arrest of the perpetrator,” said Mlangeni.

He said they were sent away without the case being opened.

A station commander, who identified himself only as Mabaso, said: “I was not around and I only heard about the incident through the grapevine.”

Provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni said no citizen should be deprived of laying criminal charges if they feel they have been violated. “If people are unhappy with the service at police stations, they must report their concerns to the station commander so that matters are investigated,” she said.

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