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'My mistake was to ask them for a search warrant they did not have': Gugulethu mom describes police ordeal

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Betty Duli-Mkinase with a swollen face and bruises after she was allegedly attacked by Nyanga police in her shack.
Betty Duli-Mkinase with a swollen face and bruises after she was allegedly attacked by Nyanga police in her shack.

"My mistake was to ask them for a search warrant which they did not have."

This is how a Gugulethu mother remembers events that lead to her alleged assault by the police.

“Some of them didn’t even have their name tags. They pushed me inside and started to beat me while others were searching my room and my daughter’s room for a gun. They kept on assaulting me and grabbed my phone and forced me to give them  a pin number which I refused. They forced me to open it and I ended up opening it and they read some of my WhatsApp messages,” recalled a traumatised Duli-Mkinase.

The family’s ordeal happened on Friday 9 September.

Duli-Mkinase, of Europe informal settlement, claims that a group officers from Nyanga arrived at her shack around 01:00 in search of a firearm. They allegedly forced their way into the house, something she tried in vain to stop.

“It was about 01:00 when I heard police knocking by force wanting me to open. I woke up and opened the door. When I opened the door I noticed that they already broke the burglar bar gate and opened it,” alleged Duli-Mkinase.

Once they were inside the house she said they demanded that she gave them a gun. She told them that she did not have one, however, the officers were allegedly having none of it.

It was at this stage that they allegedly forced their way into the house and ordered her to open her phone to check the messages. She said in one of the messages she was talking to her friend about visiting her husband in the hospital.

“My husband was attacked last month on his way from dropping the children at school and he got shot. Since then he never slept in the house. He has been using his uncle’s shack for his safety. So, at the time he was still in hospital and my friend wanted to visit him and to bring him food. I was against that. So, the police saw that conversation and asked me to take to them to him,”explained Duli-Mkinase.  

She claimed they handcuffed her and went to where her husband.

“There were about 16 officers driving with six police vans and two cars. I took them to where my husband was sleeping. They also asked him for the gun and beat him up. He told them that he did not have one but they didn’t listen to him and continued beating him,” she claimed, citing that her husband managed to escape.

Duli-Mkinase, who is the founder of Siyakhula Community Kitchen, which is a non profit organisation (NPO) that supports and empowers local community with knowledge and skills to make a living, stated that some of the officers broke the door to one room where they kept the food for soup kitchen while searching for a gun.

Duli-Mkinase claimed officers took her back to her shack and dropped her in front.

“After they left we noticed that my laptop, cellphone and router, which were in my shack, were missing. Also three 2 litre bottles of cooking oil and R300 cash that was in the car,” said Duli-Mkinase.

As a result of the alleged assault, she said she sustained bruises to the face, hands and the wrists were swollen. She added that her 12-year-old son still doesn’t want to play outside since the incident occurred.

Mkinase said she lost trust in the officers as she used to respect them.

Gugulethu police station spokesperson Sgt Sindisiwe Ngqele confirmed the incident citing that a case of common assault and theft was opened.

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