Bheki Cele ordered to pay R525 000 to Gauteng man detained for 21 days after unlawful arrest

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Minister Bheki Cele.
Minister Bheki Cele.
Darren Stewart
  • The police minister was ordered to pay a Gauteng man R525 000 for an unlawful arrest.  
  • The man was detained 13 years ago. 
  • He was kept in prison for 21 days under "extremely bad conditions". 

The Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered Police Minister Bheki Cele to pay a Gauteng man R525 000 in damages after he was unlawfully arrested more than 13 years ago.

The court found that Daniel Scheepers, 68, was detained for a period of 21 days under "extremely bad conditions".

Scheepers was arrested, without a warrant, in December 2009 near his place of residence.

He was detained at the Roodepoort police station before being moved to John Vorster police station.

READ | Police minister ordered to pay R275 000 in damages to man who was wrongfully arrested

Scheepers was later moved to Johannesburg Prison, popularly known as Sun City, until 6 January 2010, when charges against him were withdrawn. He had spent 21 days in custody. 

According to court papers, Scheepers said the arresting officer did not explain the reasons for his arrest. He was, however, told to "shut up", and that he would be locked up for a very long time.

He said that, at the Roodepoort police station where he was kept, there were human faeces "all over" the place, and it was "dirty and horrible".

He said there were no beds at Sun City and he was not given food.

The judgment reads:

The place was horrible. He was sleeping on the ground. His artificial leg was taken from him by unknown people and he could not walk.

The artificial leg was brought back by the warder after three days.

"… his artificial leg was taken from him, which made his movement unbearable, constitutional rights were not explained to him and [he] was released without being charged.

"By its nature, deprivation of someone's liberty is inhuman, unconstitutional and unbearable, given the fact that there was no justifiable cause to do so."

The court said Scheepers' arrest was unlawful and, therefore, the police minister should pay R525 000.

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