Durban - Two metro policemen, who allegedly sexually assaulted a female colleague, were given a heroes’ welcome by scores of union members at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Siyabonga Mbonambi and Nhlanhla Madikizela appeared in court on charges of kidnapping and sexual assault.
It is alleged they assaulted a 27-year-old colleague after offering her a lift home.
One of the officers allegedly masturbated and smeared the victim with semen. The other officer is said to have ignored the woman’s cry for help.
The charges were struck off the court roll in 2012 but reinstated last month.
The SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) believe the charges have been fabricated in an effort to silence their criticism of metro police management.
The pair, who also face a charge of defeating the ends of justice, made their first appearance on Monday.
The case was postponed until March 19 for the State to supply the defence with “further particulars”.
The accused have been released on a warning.
About 100 Samwu members toyi-toyied and sang struggle sings on the grass outside the court.
According to Samwu, the pair were vocal shop stewards who have been at the forefront of fighting for full-time employment for hundreds of temporary staff and calling for metro police chief Eugene Nzama to leave.
Nhlanhla Nyandeni, the regional secretary of Samwu, said the charges against the two officers were the result of “internal political battles”.
“There is known fraud and corruption in the metro police and these guys are the ones who are vocal about it. These charges emanate from an obvious vendetta against the union. We’ve been very vocal about corruption and flouting of procedures, and the only way of suppressing us is to bring charges,” he said.
Nyandeni added he found it strange that the charges had been reinstated two years after the matter was struck off the roll.
The victim, a constable, alleges a male officer who had offered her a lift home held her against her will for hours.
The male officer was supposed to have taken her to her flat in Cato Manor, but instead drove to a bushy area in Wyebank, near Pinetown, where he allegedly exposed his genitals, tried to make her touch them, then masturbated and smeared her with semen.
The male officer’s colleague allegedly ignored her pleas for help.