A Lynnwood woman’s retort to police that she was going to phone “Mr Malema”, after an altercation with them, has landed the SAPS in trouble.
The Pretoria Regional Court has ordered the minister of police to pay R65 000 to Mashudu Malema, 24, following the incident.
Mashudu spent 11 hours in a police cell after she was arrested because members of the SAPS became upset with her when she videotaped them on her phone and told them she was going to phone her father, “Mr Malema”.
Mashudu had in fact wanted to phone her father – Mr Malema – as he had some knowledge of the law and she was scared. The arresting officers however, assumed she was referring to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.
The incident happened on September 11, 2012, when Mashudu and her then boyfriend, identified only as Thabo, were stopped by the police near the McDonald’s at the Willows Crossing shopping centre.
According to court papers, the police told Thabo his breath reeked of alcohol and he should get back into his vehicle and follow them to take a breathalyser test.
The police then stopped outside a building in Faerie Glen and told Mashudu and her boyfriend to park their car.
Mashudu was not sure what was happening and decided to videotape the events on her phone.
The police became very aggressive and told her to stop and she submitted. They told her that it was against the law to record them and that she was under arrest.
Mashudu, an administrator, was told that the taping amounted to “crimen injuria” and that her “reference to ‘Malema’ amounted to political interference”.
“I never told them my father was Julius Malema. They only assumed it was. It was insane, as there were at least five police vehicles. They were aggressive and tried to wrest my phone out of my hands and they pushed me around.
“We had no idea what was going on. I was shoved into a police vehicle and taken to the Garsfontein police station, where I was placed in a dirty, blood-stained cell,” she said in court papers.
After 11 hours in the cell a warrant officer told her she was free to go home. He said he had looked at her file and it was clear that she had been arrested for no reason.
Her lawyer, Conrad Rontgen, in a letter to the minister of police in which he claimed R300 000 damages, stated that the SAPS, without reason, had assumed that her father was Julius Malema. “This aggravated them so much that they then saw no reasoning in anything my client told them,” he wrote.
While the police denied any wrongdoing or any knowledge of the incident, on Friday they agreed to pay the damages before the matter went on trial in the Pretoria Regional Court.
“It was never about the money and I did not even want to claim damages, but I wanted them to be brought to book. I want them to think twice next time when they do this to someone else. But nothing will happen, as they will not be held personally accountable,” Mashudu said.