Cop called me a baboon - Deputy police minister's spokesperson

2017-08-23 22:41
ANCYL Western Cape spokesperson Siyabulela Tom (centre) arrives at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court for allegedly insulting and assaulting officials at a road block. (File, Jenna Etheridge, News24)

ANCYL Western Cape spokesperson Siyabulela Tom (centre) arrives at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court for allegedly insulting and assaulting officials at a road block. (File, Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town – A police officer called Siyabulela Tom - spokesperson of Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi - a baboon at a roadblock at Sea Point in 2016, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court heard on Wednesday.

Tom has pleaded not guilty to two charges of crimen injuria and one of assault laid against him after he and a friend were pulled over at a roadblock near the Green Point Stadium on July 27, 2016.

He allegedly shouted: "Jou poes, fuck you, you fucking coloured people, you think you are in charge”.

These were some of the expletive-laden insults involving body parts which were quoted in court on Wednesday.

"Myself, I have not uttered those words," said Tom, who is also ANCYL provincial spokesperson.

He denied hitting traffic official Jeremy Minnie in the chest as the situation got heated.

"I was using my mouth to speak to him, no other thing," said Tom.


Questioned by his advocate Sandile Madolo, he explained that he and a friend Sakhumzi "Chichi" Nobatana were on their way from Gugulethu to Marco's traditional African restaurant in Cape Town when they were stopped at the roadblock.

Nobatana was driving and officers took him away for a breathalyser on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol.

Tom said he had not seen him drinking.

At the same time, Tom spotted an old colleague "Grobler", who he knew from when he worked at the City of Cape Town's Municipal Court.

Grobler asked Tom where he had been, what he had been doing, where he was going to, and if he had been drinking.

Tom said he had not had anything to drink, and Nobatana was driving because he could not drive.

While Grobler and Tom were speaking, they heard a commotion where Nobatana was getting his breathalyser done.

The officer conducting it complained that Nobatana was sucking, not blowing.

"I heard him say, 'blaas, blaas, blaas' (blow, blow, blow)," recalled Tom.

He said Grobler told Minnie to let him (Tom) explain to his friend in his own language “how we are supposed to blow this thing”.

'You are a baboon'

Tom was walking towards Nobatana when suddenly a policeman emerged from one of the police vans parked at the roadblock.

"He said to me, 'Jy! Jy's a bobbejaan. Staan terug. Jy is net soos almal. Jy's a bobbejaan, net soos hulle almal. Stap weg. [You! You are a baboon. Stand back. You are like everybody. You are a baboon, just like all the others. Step away]’."

Tom said he was so stunned by what the policeman said that he could not speak.

A black traffic officer immediately called the policeman to order.

"She said 'you can't call a person a bobbejaan'."

And then an argument started. Tom was visibly upset as he related events, and his outrage mounted as the words tumbled out.

"How do you come about where you say I am a bobbejaan? How do you start to do that?"

He asked Grobler who the person in charge was because the policeman was wearing a reflector jacket and he could not see his name tag.

Grobler pointed out Minnie and Tom approached him. “But Mr Minnie, he just blindly ignored me," said Tom.

A white female traffic officer allegedly called out: "Sluit die ding toe. Die ding is gesuip, hy is dronk [Lock the thing up. The thing is drunk, he is drunk]."

When Minnie finally addressed Tom, it was to tell him to go to the officer to get his name himself as he did not know it.

ANC affiliation as leverage

Tom said he found it unbelievable that a man in charge of a joint operation would not know, or be able to account for, the officers working at the roadblock.

Tom denied trying to disrupt traffic and goading police officers to shoot him.

He was eventually put into a police van and taken to the Sea Point police station. His shoelaces, phone, and the R13 in his pocket were taken for safe-keeping.

Minnie was sitting behind the counter at the police station.

He later told him that he could go and returned his belongings. Tom then said he wanted to lay a charge against the police.

Minnie and a police officer left the charge office and conferred for a while. When they returned they told him he would be placed under arrest after all.

Tom accused Minnie of lying to cover up for what happened that day by alleging that he swore at him.

He said he was only able to lay a charge on August 1, 2016, because there had been a death in the family that week and he was expected to be at the funeral.

Tom denied using his ANC affiliation as leverage. The State had already heard testimony from Minnie.

He said he was humiliated by the way Tom spoke to him in front of his colleagues at the roadblock and insisted that Tom insulted and assaulted him.

The trial was postponed and would resume later this year for testimony from two other people.


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