Businessman sues cops for R100m over unlawful arrest

KZN businessman Siyabonga Getsemane wants R100 million from the State for unlawful arrest. Photo: supplied

KZN businessman Siyabonga Getsemane wants R100 million from the State for unlawful arrest. Photo: supplied

Published Mar 14, 2024


Durban — A KwaZulu-Natal businessman Siyabonga Thomas Getsemane and his 11 security guards have slapped Police Minister Bheki Cele and other top police officials with a R105 million lawsuit for his arrest which they claimed was illegal.

Getsemane, who hails from Inanda north of Durban, owns a fleet of taxis and a security company. He wants R100m for his illegal arrest and R5.5m for his security guards. They are represented by law firm NJ Attorneys, which has roped in the services of top advocate Simphiwe Mlotshwa, who is also representing accused 1 and 5 in the murder case of award-winning artist Kiernan Jarryd “AKA” Forbes and his friend Tebello “Tibz” Motsoane.

In his affidavit accompanying the summons, Getsemane stated that on November 3, 2023, at or near Qala Quarry mine in Inanda, he and his security guards were arrested with malice, improper motive, intent to defame and unlawfully by Detective Captain Wayne Thomas and his colleagues.

The officers were joined by KwaZulu-Natal deputy commissioner Major-General Vukani Mgobhozi, who is the head of KZN police detectives.

The plaintiffs were wrongfully taken into police custody and detained from November 3-6 at the Ntuzuma Magistrate’s Court as prosecutors refused to enrol the matter. This was “to humiliate and defame the plaintiffs” as the first plaintiff is a well-known businessman, the court papers said.

To defame the businessman they “took embarrassing photographs of the arrest and posted them on social media platforms”. Subsequently, Minister Cele appeared on national TV and told presenter Dr JJ Tabane “untruthful defamatory statements” calling them “mafia”, read the summons. Some R137 000 in cash, cellphones, a laptop, firearms and other valuable items were taken from the plaintiffs, it is alleged.

“As a result of the wrongful arrest, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, injury to good name, emotional shock and legal fees thereof, the cumulative damages were suffered: First plaintiff (Getsemane) – R100 000 000 (R100m).”

All 11 bodyguards have demanded R500 000 each from the State. Getsemane and his men were later released. It is not clear why they were arrested.

Cele’s spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said the lawsuit against the police and the minister was handled by the legal desk.

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