Mom sues cops for shooting, wrongful arrest

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mom sues cops WEEKEND ARGUS Felicia Mafumana and her daughter, Thabisa. Photo: CANDICE CHAPLIN

Cape Town - She had just been paid and planned to sort out her grocery shopping and accounts.

Instead, February 24, 2006, turned out to be one of Felicia Mafumana’s worst nightmares after she and her daughter, then 18, were shot by the police in Philippi and held in hospital under police guard, to be charged with public violence.

Mafumana ended up in a cold Nyanga police station cell, bleeding and without access to the medication the hospital had prescribed for her.

She and her daughter sued the Minister of Safety and Security in the Western Cape High Court for damages.

The merits of the case were settled and, while the parties have agreed on amounts for medical expenses and loss of earnings, the case returned to the High Court this week to determine the amount of general damages.

Mafumana, a mother of four and a member of the ANC Women’s League, testified on Thursday that she was well known in the Philippi community. She worked as a community liaison officer at a school and had just been paid at the time of the incident.

At her home in Chris Hani Street, Village 4A, Philippi, she made a grocery shopping list.

Then she called Thabisa but there was no response.

She left the house to look for Thabisa and outside she found a crowd had gathered.

According to papers before the court, a young couple were arguing with the police and the angry crowd had gathered to complain of police behaviour.

A female police officer drew her firearm and opened fire on the crowd, the papers stated.

One of her children ran towards her, crying and saying Thabisa had been shot.

Despite the gunshots, she made her way through the chaos to find Thabisa, but she was forced to turn back.

However, she felt cold and realised she, too, had been shot. Blood streamed down her legs. Then she fell to the ground.

By that stage, she didn’t know whether Thabisa was alive.

She was put into the back of a police van and taken to KTC Day Hospital, where she saw Thabisa for the first time.

Both of them were transferred by ambulance to Groote Schuur Hospital, where they were treated. Then a police officer arrived.

She was eventually told that she and her daughter were under arrest and would be charged with public violence.

Mafumana said she asked why she was being charged and was told that she and her daughter had taken police firearms – an allegation she denied.

She said police refused to allow her husband to visit her while she was in hospital.

“I was very hurt.”

She spent the weekend under police guard in hospital before she was taken to the Nyanga police station cells.

Despite her injuries she was made to drag her mattress into the cell while the medication she had received at the hospital was taken from her. She was bleeding but got no help.

She appeared in court the next day but after frequent remands the charges were withdrawn four months later.

Weekend Argus


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