Brothers win payout for cop assault

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Independent Newspapers

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Durban - The minister of police will have to pay R50 000 to two Ladysmith brothers who were assaulted by officers in 2010.

The brothers had originally sued for R750 000.

Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Gregory Kruger granted the order on Thursday.

In terms of the settlement order, the minister is to pay Simphiwe Mathebula and his brother, Thokozani Mathebula, a total of R50 000 and to pay their legal costs.

The brothers launched an application in the high court seeking damages of R750 000 (Simphiwe sued for R350 000 and Thokozani sued for R400 000) as a result of an assault on them by two police officers, identified as Thabang Oone and Sishange Mlungisi.

In court papers, the brothers said that on February 12, 2010, Oone and Mlungisi maliciously and forcefully entered their home at Ezakheni without a warrant. The officers then assaulted them in full view of their family and neighbours.

The brothers said they were handcuffed, placed under arrest and then pushed into the back of a police van and taken to the Ezakheni police station.

According to the brothers’ affidavit, they were assaulted again at the police station and unlawfully detained for 10 hours.

They said the officers informed them they “thought” the brothers were in possession of illegal firearms, but since they had none, they were free to go.

The Mathebula brothers, who had bruises and abrasions as a result of the assaults, were then released.

They said that during their unlawful detention they were:

* Detained in the same cell as other prisoners accused of serious and violent crimes, even though there were free cells available.

* Denied access to basic amenities.

* Provoked by the officers, who hurled abuse at them in full view of other prisoners and staff at the Ezakheni police station.

* Denied access to their family members.

As a result of their detention, they suffered serious stress and mental trauma, as well as an impairment of their rights to freedom and to be treated in a humane manner.

The Daily News contacted the provincial police department to ascertain whether the police officers in question, Oone and Mlungisi, were still on active duty and whether any internal disciplinary action would be taken against them.

No response was forthcoming last night.

Daily News


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