Langa police have come under fire for allegedly assaulting Sandisiwe Tshangana, and keeping him in their holding cells after an altercation at the station.
The incident took place on Tuesday May 22, when the Tshangana family, of Nkandla, in Langa, visited the station to seek help following a robbery involving a relative.
According to the family, the police allegedly refused to help them, claiming to be on lunch.
Things got heated when Mr Tshangana decided to take pictures of the vacant help desk. He said he was labelled paparazzi and impimpi and forced to delete the images. “It is very saddening and devastating what happened there,” said Mr Tshangana.
“For police to manhandle and detain me after I took pictures of empty desks was uncalled for.
He claimed they accused him of interfering with their work although they were apparently doing nothing. “They even threatened to break my phone if I do not delete the pictures and I had to delete them,” he told Vukani.
Angry family members said they found it hard to come to terms with the way police treated him.
The family say they are seeking justice and appropriate answers for the trauma they endured at the hands of the police, who are the custodians of the law.
“We needed to get help,” Mr Tshangana said. “When we were given the description of a man who had robbed our cousin, we knew him because he was not far from us.
“All we wanted was the police’s guidance and for her (the cousin) to get an affidavit and a case number. It is totally unacceptable that police should ill-treat and abuse the same people they have a duty to protect. There was no justification for deleting and forcing us to delete the pictures. They took the cellphone with them for days. It is clear that this is how they treat people who come here. What they did is total abuse of power. Their behaviour should be condemned.”
Mr Tshangana’s wife Khanyisile said her husband had to sleep in jail for nothing.
“He never went to court after that, why?
“My husband is asthmatic. I had to shout at them to allow him to take his medication. I am disappointed at them and their poor service. He should have kept them (the pictures) for evidence in court. By deleting pictures they were clearly hiding something,” she said.
The family has vowed to report the matter to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate as well as Police Minister, Bheki Cele.
Witness, Joanne Lewis agreed that what she described as “bad service” should be reported to IPID.
Despite numerous attempts to get a response from Langa police spokesperson, Captain Nondumiso Paul, Vukani was unable to do so.
Since Monday May 28, she promised to respond numerous times, but by the time this edition went to print, she had not commented on the matter.