Magistrate: SAPS assaulted my family

2008-06-24 00:00

A HOWICK magistrate has threatened to sue the Community Safety and Liaison Department, which is in charge of the SAPS, for assaulting his son, breaking into his home and pointing firearms at his family.

Nhlanhla Zeblon Mpanza (52), who also alleged that women in his family were indecently assaulted, said that on May 28 a group of police officers entered his yard by damaging his main gate. He said that inside his house, the police pointed their firearms at him and family members, and pulled the blankets from sleeping half-naked women.

“I felt defamed by being subjected to such undignified [acts] in front of the members of my family, being well-known as a magistrate in Howick,” said Mpanza.

He said that he noticed the shadows from a group of people in his yard at about 8 pm and heard a knock on the door. He said the men entered his yard twice after taking the electric gate off its track.

Mpanza said he realised that the men were police officers because he knows one of them from his courtroom.

The first time they came, the police said they were looking for a family friend, Bongani Dladla, who was spending the night in the magistrate’s house, in connection with a truck hijacking.

Dladla had gone out with Mpanza’s son Mduduzi.

“On hearing that the Dladla was not in the house, the officers left. A few minutes later, Dladla and Mduduzi returned. While we were telling them about the incident we saw the police entering the house. They pointed firearms and ordered us to lie down. Others entered bedrooms and ordered everyone to wake up, removing blankets from female family members,” said Mpanza.

He said officers handcuffed both Mduduzi and Dladla, and when Dladla demanded an explanation, he was assaulted.

Police left with both men, and Dladla only returned on May 30, saying he was released from Pietermaritzburg’s central police station without appearing in court as there was a lack of evidence against him.

Dladla was released on June 18, apparently also because of lack of evidence.

Mpanza reported the matter at the Howick police station, and to his lawyers.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said police are investigating.

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