Witness saw attack on man in police cell

2012-04-25 11:00

Cape Town - A witness has told how he heard a man calling for help shortly before he died following an assault in the Durbanville police cells.

Eben Meyer, 47, apparently pulled on the cell bars in an attempt to get the attention of police officers on duty, Die Burger reported.

His blood-covered body was found in the early hours of Saturday morning in the cell that he was sharing with eight other men.

Meyer had been arrested at about 01:00 for public drunkenness. He had apparently gone drinking after a fight with his fiancée.

Another man from Durbanville, who asked to remain anonymous, said he had also been locked up in the police cells on Saturday evening.  

He was put in a cell next to Meyer’s. He said the men were already assaulting Meyer when he arrived.

He saw them kicking and hitting Meyer.


The witness said, however, that Meyer had been aggressive following his arrival, swearing and demanding cigarettes, and hitting two other men. He said Meyer had been looking for trouble.

“It’s sad that he died, but he needed a hiding.”

He said it felt like the assault on Meyer had taken several hours and that he was surprised that the police officials in the charge office nearby did not come to Meyer’s aid.

The two accused, Daniel Dyosi, 40, and Sipho Mhlanga, 29, were charged with Meyer’s murder. They appeared in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Monday, where their case was postponed to May 10 for a formal bail application.

  • clinton.badenhorst - 2012-04-25 11:20

    The police need to separate prisoners. Petty criminals to not belong in the same cells as murderers and rapists or repeat offenders. This guy was clearly sloshed so he might have been a little aggressive because of the booze, but did not deserve to die. This is really tragic. Just shows you how much the police actually care...

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-25 11:23

    Why are they not charging the policemen that did not respond to his calls for help?

      Colin - 2012-04-25 12:50

      Agree - A charge of gross negligence for one should at least be filed!

  • Peter - 2012-04-25 11:23

    That man did not deserve an end like that. The guy was drunk he wasnt in the right state of mind to be thrown in a jail cell with 8 other people who could have been arrested for murder, rape or robery. The officers in who arrested him should be charged as well, it was only public drunkenness he should have been taken home, its not like he endangered anyone he wasnt driving drunk.

  • Rob - 2012-04-25 11:25

    Maybe Meyer was white or coloured & the wardens were probably black & did'nt give a toss. Maybe ? Just saying !

      JJ - 2012-04-25 11:35

      Come on Rob...I know you're better than that. Anyway I once spent a night in jail for drinking in public (I was holding a bottle of Savanah that wasn't even mine!!). I just kept quiet and to myself until I gave my admission of guilt and got out of there. Embarrassing part is my girlfriends mom bailed me out!! Anyway I think his aggression is what caused the trouble.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-25 11:45

      Black guys die in holding cells too all the time under the 'watch' of black wardens that don't give a toss. Point being you're trying to racialize the issue unnecessarily.

      Antipoaching - 2012-04-25 12:12

      agreed Gcwabe, there is no point ro racialising this incident. Fact is it should never have happened. The actual killers are on heading for trial but the cops on duty at the time need to be investigated as well. Nobody deserves to die because they hefted a few too many pints and got a bit argumentative! Heavens half the population would be dead!

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-25 13:18

      @Bloodbane That certainly wasn't Rob's point, it's yours. I was responding to Rob and not you.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-25 14:48

      Rob was saying that the black wardens don't give a toss about white and coloured prisoners. It's there in black and white. Nowhere did he say that blacks don't give a toss about doing their jobs in general. He included the race of the deceased to imply that the black wardens simply don't care about the welfare of coloured and white detainees. It is you that is lacking comprehension skills.

      Gcwabe.KaMavovo - 2012-04-25 15:57

      I presented you with only facts from what Rob was saying. He was implying that the black wardens are racist when it comes to detainees of other races. However it was YOU that drew conclusions about laziness of black people in general. It was YOU that missed his point. It was YOU that simply didn't think about what he was saying. How is it that YOU can't see all of this? The funny thing is that you're trying to project yourself as being smart, while unable to comprehend a simple statement. Now run along and think about it.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-04-25 11:44

    A few weeks ago a couple, both doctors, were arrested on charges of child smuggling. A Durban Court gave them R30 000 bail AND permission to leave the country to go to Mauritius on holiday. This man is drunk on a Saturday night, gets put in jail( Durbanville police station) and killed while in police custody. You definitely get off lighter when committing serious crimes.

  • Kruger - 2012-04-25 11:58

    RIP.... one must put some blame at the doors of STONES to as they took his money and threw him out to the wolves.Cops wanted this to happen to this man,hope steps will be taken against them!!!

  • Paul - 2012-04-25 11:58

    If anyone bothers to check the Criminal Procedure Act, you can only be locked up if you are either flight risk or the suspected/actual crime IS A SCHEDULE 1 OFFENCE. Public drunkeness is NOT a schedule 1 Offence so the Pigs cops cannot lock you up! And people cry when Police Officers are Killed - Yet this is an example of how the Police "DO THEIR DUTY".

      Gerhard - 2012-04-25 12:26

      Paul, ignorance is dangerous. Drunk is a continues crime. Drunken people do “drunk” things. A drunken person need to be locked up for the community’s as well as his own safety. He needs to be detained till he is sober. Usually a minimum of four hours. Just imagine what will happen if the police don’t lock up drunken people. This guy, already aggressive, would have been taken home and start another fight with his fiancée. Then we blame the police again because they did not prevent this. His death is unfortunate, but if we need to criticise, let’s be reasonable.

  • Maylene - 2012-04-25 12:19


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