After mistaking him for someone else, police beat him up and left him lying in pool of blood
Soap actor Andile Nebulane claims he was wrongfully accused and viciously assaulted when eight armed police officers profiled him as a drug dealer in 2011.
Nebulane (39), who plays police officer Pele on Generations: The Legacy, spoke out this week because he has still not received justice.
“Eight years later, I haven’t healed from the ordeal I suffered at the hands of the police, who nearly beat me to death with hammers, guns and metal torches,” the actor told City Press, his voice full of emotion.
Nebulane, who also worked on hit film Black Panther as a dialect coach, said the beating, which lasted for at least 45 minutes, left him partly deaf in his left ear and he now suffers from migraines.
“The only visible scar I have to show is a deep cut on my left shin. All my evidence, including pictures and a medical report, were attached to my docket, which is with Nyanga Police Station in Cape Town, where I reported my case.”
He said his case was moved from detective to detective, and he fears the docket has been quashed.
He also reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), but he only received a letter from Ipid two years ago stating that the docket was presented to a senior public prosecutor in 2014, who declined to prosecute.
The letter, seen by City Press, reads: “It appears that the decision of the senior public prosecutor was never communicated to you ... You are entitled to have [the decision] reviewed by the director of public prosecutions in the province.”
Nebulane says he did just that, “but I have never received any response from them”.
“It was October 11 2011. I was sleeping at my place at the Samora Machel settlement in Cape Town when I was woken up by a very loud banging at the door. I heard men saying to open or they were going to break the door,” he recalls.
He looked through the window and saw eight armed plainclothes police officers and ran into the house.
His brother, Deon Nebulane, confirmed the attack to City Press.
“The banging and the insults from behind the door got louder and louder. They managed to get in the house. I heard them walking up the stairs. I was praying and crying. I feared for my life. I had accepted that it was my day to die; I was just waiting for bullets to fly,” Andile said with tears in his eyes.
He said that, even though he kept telling the police that he was not the person they were looking for, they continued to beat up him relentlessly.
He even pointed out a number of posters hanging on his wall with his name and face on them, but it didn’t help.
“Where are the guns and drugs?” they asked him. He told them he had nothing to do with guns and drugs, and that he was just an actor.
“I was bleeding. I could see a piece of meat hanging from my left leg. I lodged myself in the corner and covered my face as they carried on beating me up like I was a punching bag.”
At some point, he spotted a bulletproof vest on one of the men and realised it was the police attacking him.
“I was weak and helpless, lying in a pool of blood. I [felt] a big blow from the butt of a gun on my left ear. I had already surrendered to them. One of them finally lifted my chin, looked at me in the eye and asked: ‘Are you Andile or Anele?’”
He responded: “I have been telling you guys that I am Andile.”
That’s when he realised that he had been mistaken for another person who had a similar name, but even after they realised he was not the man they were looking for, they left him helpless.
“My neighbour came to rescue me and took me to the hospital.”
He says he will never give up fighting to get closure: “I just want justice to be served. I don’t want any money from the state. They owe my soul and mind an apology.”
Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said matters where SA Police Service members were involved were investigated by Ipid and that his office was not in a position to comment on an Ipid investigation.
Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini said: “Ipid perused the docket after Mr Nebulane complained, to determine if the investigation was done properly. It was found that statements were obtained and that the docket was referred to the senior public prosecutor, who declined to prosecute. Mr Nebulane was advised to approach the director of public prosecutions to review the decision to not prosecute.”