A livid Samora Machel resident, Sandiso Ponono, alleges that he was beaten, kicked and dragged by a police officer for no reason after they stopped a car he was travelling in in Philippi, on Sunday January 28.
Mr Ponono said he was with his girlfriend, their one-year-old son and three friends. They were travelling to buy a bus clipcard for his girlfriend at a local service station.
He said a group of police officers, travelling in a mini bus taxi, stopped them and ordered them out of the vehicle. He said they all adhered to the instruction. He said the officers indicated that they wanted to search the car.
Mr Ponono said he then decided to take the child out of the car. It was then that the trouble started, he said. One of the officers allegedly grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back. When he asked why, he claimed the officer smacked him in the face.
The officer repeatedly smacked him.
He claimed that when he tried to grab the man’s hands another officer grabbed his hands from behind, and handcuffed him.
“I asked what was the beating for?” said Mr Ponono.
He said the officer told him he had a “big mouth” and continued smacking him. Mr Ponono said he told the police officers if he had done anything wrong they should arrest him instead of assaulting him.
He claimed they were taken to the Philippi East police station where things just got worse.
He claimed the same officer pushed him to the floor, dragged him by his feet into a dark passage and started kicking him on his upper body.
“My girlfriend screamed for help but no one came. My son stood there crying while I was being beaten. My girlfriend decided to break a glass window with the hope that other officers would hear.”
Instead he said, another officer came and dragged him into the boardroom and put him on a chair. “But I could not sit in that chair, I kept falling. The officer told me that when his colleagues come he will tell them that I was drunk,” he said.
He said when the colleagues arrived he told them that he was not drunk.
“I insisted that they bring a breathalyser but they refused. My face was swollen and my entire body was in pain,” he said.
Mr Ponono said the officers later gave him a statement to sign. The statement claimed that he had assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest.
He said he reported the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for justice to be served. But he said it took him three days before the police could take his case. “What if I get a criminal record for something that I did not do. I want him to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
He said the Philippi East station commander told him that the officers were not stationed at Philippi and were provincial officers.
Ipid spokersperson Moses Dlamini, confirmed that a case has been opened against the officer.
He said a case of common assault had been opened and they were busy with an investigation.