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Pretoria - “General Phiyega se p**s.” These were allegedly the words of six rogue police officers from the Katlegong TRT unit, while they harassed a Mountain View couple along the R21 towards Pretoria on Sunday evening.
According to Emile Jansen van Rensburg, he and his wife Belinda were travelling back from OR Tambo International Airport when six fully uniformed police officers in a marked police vehicle pointed R5 rifles at them, ran them off the road and inappropriately searched them to get their cellphones.
When Van Rensburg threatened to contact senior police officials, as well as national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega, to complain about the treatment he and his wife had received, the officers used foul language about her.
Van Rensburg told Pretoria News that they had noticed the police vehicle coming from a distance behind. “They forced other vehicles to move out of the way by switching on their blue lights and sirens, but as soon as they passed a vehicle they would switch off their siren until they came to another vehicle that didn’t move fast enough.”
He said he was driving in the fast lane as the police vehicle approached, but could not move to the slow lane because of a slow-moving truck. “They kept on driving very close and put on the sirens and blue lights. I signalled to them that I had nowhere to move to, but they kept pushing, so I took a picture of their vehicle through my mirror.”
Van Rensburg explained how the vehicle then pulled up next to him between the barrier and his vehicle and that two of the four back-seat passengers then pointed R5 rifles at him, telling him to move.
“I immediately told my wife to call 10111. I took a short video with my phone, and they saw this. They shouted at me to pull over. They then forced me into the slow lane and eventually off the road.”
Van Rensburg said that when he wanted to get out of the car, the police officers were at his vehicle. “Two of them pulled me from the vehicle by my neck and another held a 9mm firearm to my face.”
He said the officers continued harassing him and his wife, asking for their cellphones. Van Rensburg alleged that they touched his wife inappropriately, in a manner that upset him. According to Belinda she felt so uncomfortable that she took the cellphone from her bra and gave it to the officers.
“They were looking for the video and pictures we took on the phones but couldn’t find it.” Van Rensburg said he told the officers what they were doing was wrong. “I told them I will call the commissioner of police and complain and they said ‘the commissioner se p**s”.”
Van Rensburg said an approaching blue-light brigade came to their rescue, as the officers started getting nervous.
This enabled the couple to jump into their bakkie and drive off. The rogue officers still had Van Rensburg’s cellphone. He said they gave chase after him, and at the robot into Monument Park they threw the phone into the back of the bakkie and sped off.
Van Rensburg alleges that he was sent from one station to another in an attempt to open a case.
He had also discovered that the officers had put a lock on his phone preventing him from using it. The phone is now in an evidence bag in Van Rensburg’s possession.
After being sent from pillar to post, a colonel from the provincial head office assured Van Rensburg that the Lyttelton station commander would assist him the following day.
The next afternoon, Van Rensburg was visited by the station commander and a warrant officer who took his statement but did not take the evidence bag. To date he had not received any feedback from the police, nor been given a case number.
Police spokesman Brigadier Neville Mallila said his office was aware of the allegations.
“The allegations were viewed in a serious light as they were viewed as compromising service delivery by members of the SAPS.”
Station commander, Brigadier George Manganye, interviewed Van Rensburg who related their ordeal.
An officer was assigned to investigate the allegations. “Mr Van Rensburg was requested to bring his wife to the police station in order for the investigators to take a statement from her as he cannot complain on her behalf,” Malila said.
Malila added that the allegations against the SAPS members would be investigated internally.
Phiyega’s office was also contacted for comment, but none had been received at the time of going to print.
Van Rensburg said he had lost faith in the police system.
“They think just because they wear a uniform that they can do what they want and treat people the way they want.”