Police ‘assaulting’ Lonmin miners

Scores of arrested Lonmin miners are allegedly being assaulted by police in North West police cells.

City Press can reveal that more than 100 cases of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm have been opened against the police in the last 48 hours.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the matter and provided a preliminary report to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa late last night.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi confirmed to Sapa that the minister had received the report.

“The preliminary report provided to the minister confirms that on August 22 it came to the attention of the Ipid that detainees linked to the Marikana incident were assaulted by (SA Police Service) SAPS members at Phokeng police station and Mogwase police station,” Mnisi said in a statement.

Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini confirmed the investigation, saying they had sent investigators to three police stations, where they opened 130 assault and assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm against police officers.

34 striking Lonmin miners were shot dead by the police last Thursday. 78 were wounded and almost 260 miners were arrested and are being kept in custody in police cells around Rustenburg.

“The Ipid’s investigators registered a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm at the Mogwase Police Station. Investigators obtained statements from 50 victims in this regard,” said Mnisi.

Two similar cases were opened at the Phokeng and Jericho police stations by mineworkers detained there, Sapa reported.

Mnisi said arrangements were being made for some of the miners to be relocated and to receive medical attention.

“Any police officer who conducts him or herself in a manner that is not in line with constitutional principles should face the full might of the law and I encourage Ipid to investigate these allegations, without fear or favour,” Mthethwa said in the statement.

Read City Press tomorrow for an in-depth look into the police assaults.
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