Police have remained tight-lipped about the status of two Sea Point officers behind the wrongful arrest of Esethu Mcinjana, who had been taking selfies in the area while waiting for a job interview.
On May 19, the two police officers had approached her and searched the 23-year-old’s bag while they questioned what she was doing there. Their conduct has been labelled as reminiscent of apartheid, when black people were detained for being in so-called white areas.
The police officers found a house key and a gate remote, along with her curriculum vitae. She was later arrested, allegedly as a suspect as she had “car-jacking equipment”.
Despite protesting her innocence and questioning what she had done wrong, Mcinjana was forced to spend the night in jail. She recorded the incident, which has gone viral on social media, with many people suggesting she should take legal action against the police.
Provincial police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said an investigation into the incident had been opened and was being led by a senior official from the Cape Town cluster.
“The status of the two officials forms part of the probe, the details of which cannot be made public at this stage,” said Potelwa.
“The police are committed to upholding the constitution and are expected to abide by the SAPS’s code of conduct, which speaks to treating everyone humanely. If any police official is found to have transgressed any of the aspects cited above, decisive action will be taken.”
Mcinjana said that despite the hotel confirming for the police that she indeed had an appointment for an interview, the officers had still detained her overnight.
Mcinjana has since been inundated with support from people who indicated their willingness to help her legally.
“I am really grateful for the support and people who are willing to fight for me. My mother is a single parent and I’m currently unemployed so we would have not been able to afford the legal fees. I do intend to sue the officials. It (the holding cell) was so cold I couldn’t even sleep. I cried the whole night. I’m worried about my picture and fingerprint that is on their system, what if it hinders job opportunities?” she said.
“I took the video during the traumatic and embarrassing ordeal because I sensed that the officers were used to doing what they did to me, and I didn’t want them to hurt and belittle another person. I was informed other people have also come forward on social media about their treatment at the hand of the officers.”
She is scheduled for an interview with the hotel today but said she was still rattled and scared to go back to the vicinity.