The Pretoria High Court has given the go-ahead to a woman from Siyabuswa in KwaMahlanga to institute a damages claim against the police following allegations by her that she was severely assaulted by the SAPS when they came looking for her son.
Tiny Johannah Mahlangu, 51, stated in papers before court that the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit of the SAPShad come to her home in the early hours of June 23, 2010, looking for her son Mpho.
She said she had been asleep and the police had broke the lock of her gate and removed the gate with a crowbar. They had also broken windows.
They had ordered her to open the door and three officers had stormed inside without a search warrant.
“They were looking for my son Mpho and I told them he was sleeping outside, on the same premises. The police said that if I don’t show them where he is, they will beat me up.”
“The police, who were not dressed in uniform, then slapped (my) face… They… grabbed me by the wrists and pulled me outside.”
Mahlangu said she had seen other SAPS members beating her son. They had taken her back to the kitchen and loaded her son into a police van.
“They then placed a plastic bag over my head because, according to them, I was talking too much. They twisted my arm and forced me to my knees. I cried for help and told them they were hurting me.
“By then the bag was going into my mouth and nose, and I screamed that I can’t breath. The police said they wanted me to die because I talked too much.”
Mahlangu said that while she was kneeling, the officers had kicked her in the abdomen. They had left her lying there, taking her son with them. “I did not commit a crime, but in spite of this I was assaulted by the police. There was no warrant for them to enter my premises. I am now terrified of the police and I constantly get nightmares. I believed they were going to kill me. I also still have body pains from where they kicked me.”
Mahlangu had to ask the court to give her the approval to proceed with her claim, as it had lapsed. She explained that she had been ignorant of the time in which to institute a claim and that she had battled to obtain the case docket regarding the arrest of her son from the police.
“I was also too scared to issue a summons against the police, as I was afraid they would come back and kill me.”