Pretoria - Two years ago, 17-year-old Lindokuhle Khoza’s life was destroyed when he was allegedly assaulted by police officers at his home in Mamelodi West.
The teenager has had to drop out of school and his mother has left her job take care of him full-time. Lindokuhle, then 15, was doing laundry when three police officers allegedly came into the yard and started assaulting him.
“They said my grandmother told them I was abusing her and had hit her. They did not ask any questions and started hitting me. The one started pinching me and the other one pushed me against the wall.”
He said that two officers were in uniform and the one was in civilian clothes. His 87-year-old grandmother says she does not remember the incident.
His mother, Lucia, said: “That people could just come into our yard and assault my child is worrying. Why did they not arrest him then if he was abusing the old lady? Now his whole life has been ruined by the situation.
“My mother is very old and her mind is not as sharp as it used to be. As a family we know that she sometimes just says things that are not real. One moment she remembers things and the next she does not.”
After the assault in May 2012, Lindokuhle was in the Kalafong Hospital in Atteridgeville until December.
“The doctors told us that, because of the assault, his bones have been damaged. He cannot stand for long and also struggles with walking. Sometimes he just falls because his bones cannot keep him up. He is also very forgetful and filled with anger at what happened to him.”
Lindokuhle had to drop out of school because he now cannot concentrate for long periods and he is forgetful. He has only completed Grade 6. His mother said: “Most of the time he does not even remember how to write his own name. We took him to the Department of Education for tests and they said he would not be able to survive in a normal school. So he stays home because I cannot afford fees at special schools.”
She resigned from her job as a sales assistant to take care of her son.
“He wants to try and make money by being a DJ but he cannot do that as well because he cannot be in loud places, concentrate or even stand for long.”
The family opened a case at the Mamelodi West police station and are now considering a civil claim against the state because of a lack of progress in the case.
“The last time the police came to see us was last April when they came to ask for medical records. Since then we have not heard anything from them.”
Mamelodi police spokesman Warrant Officer Michael Mbewe said the case had been transferred to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said one of the police officers implicated in the case had since died.
“According to the investigator… he identified three suspects – that is the grandmother and two police officers. One of the issues that arose from this matter was that the victim’s grandmother was identified as a suspect and that the sister of the victim insisted that there was a third police officer.
A meeting was set up between the family of the victim and the senior public prosecutor to discuss the issue of the grandmother being a suspect. The investigator indicated that he made several appointments with the victim’s sister to point out the third suspect but she kept none of them.
The investigator indicated that he communicated with the mother of the victim about her daughter’s non-co-operation with the investigation.”
He said the docket would be sent to the director of public prosecutions for a decision on whether to prosecute.