Durban — A teacher from Mqongqo/Table Mountain village near Pietermaritzburg is fuming after a police investigating officer allegedly refused to arrest suspects because she found them breast-feeding their babies.
According to the complainant, Bandile Nxumalo, the police investigating officer came on Friday to effect the arrest but returned to the police station without the suspects because she found them breast-feeding.
Nxumalo, who is a teacher in a local school, has demanded action against the investigating officer and called for charges of defeating the ends of justice against her. The complainant is related to the suspects as they are all Nxumalos.
Speaking to the Daily News on Saturday, Nxumalo said she and her family have been living under threat by the suspects, who are her neighbours.
“I want police management to charge her for misconduct or for defeating the ends of justice. I have not heard that there was a provision in law that a breast-feeding suspect was immune from arrest. I have been abused for a long time by my relatives without protection from the police. I know this is happening because all my brothers died, so as a woman, I have no one to protect me, and I am let down by the police, too,” said an emotional Nxumalo.
She claimed the two women attacked her and vandalised her house and furniture.
Nxumalo alleged that in another attack by the brothers of the suspects, her car was torched, and she also informed police, but one of the brothers was arrested and released on the same day, which she said she also did not understand.
She said the problem started two weeks ago when the neighbour’s child lost her phone, and they accused her child of stealing it. She added that her sin was to ask for proof, and instead of providing proof, they accused her of protecting her “thief”, then started attacking her and burnt her car.
One of the family members, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of the suspects, said besides the lost cellphone issue, there had been a long-standing feud between the families, which may have been as a result of jealousy because the complainant was progressing while the suspects are school drop-outs.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said Bishopstowe police were investigating charges of assault and malicious damage to property.
“It is alleged by the complainant that she was assaulted on September 25, 2023, by two known suspects. Two women aged 20 and 23 were arrested and released on a warning. They are appearing before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court,“ Gwala said.
In another incident, Gwala said the complainant also alleged that on October 3, she was asleep with her family when they were woken up by smoke coming from the garage. On investigation they noticed that the couch was on fire, the garage and roof membrane was damaged. The suspect is unknown in the matter.
Gwala said a case of malicious damage to property was also being investigated by Bishopstowe SAPS after a vehicle was allegedly set alight at Maqongqo. The driver’s door and fender were damaged. A 35-year-old suspect was arrested and was released on warning. He will appear before the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.
Gwala, however, denied the allegations that the investigating officer did not arrest the suspects because they had young babies which they had to breast-feed, saying the suspects were charged and released on a warning.
The paper has it on good authority that the investigating officer went to the suspects’ house but did not effect arrest after she found that they had young babies to breast-feed. The suspects were only arrested on Sunday and were released on warning.
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