North West police are being investigated for assault after allegedly torturing a boy because they thought he had information about the disappearance of a cousin, police said on Monday.
The police opened the case of assault because the family was reluctant to do so, fearing retribution, said Brigadier Thulane Ngubane.
The 12-year-old boy was allegedly beaten with a belt and forced to swim in cold water to look for his four-year-old cousin Otlotleng Morake, he said.
He was allegedly hit on the ears, impairing his hearing; he now screamed and night and found it difficult to sleep or face the police; and had been bunking school.
Ngubane, who expressed his disappointment at the allegations, said the matter had been reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). Its findings would determine the course of action.
The police were conducting their own internal investigation, he said.
IPID spokesman Moses Dlamini could not be reached for comment. - Sapa