Cops in the dock
Share this article:
“I DON’T want anyone else to lose another child and have a family suffer like my family has suffered.”
Chatsworth father Timothy Naidoo said this outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday as three more police officers appeared in the dock in connection with the death of his son, Regan Naidoo, 32, while in police custody in 2018.
Officers Rajan Sanders, 47, Riyadh Adams, 39, and Devendra Chetty, 49, were arrested early yesterday and were taken to the main Durban police station, before being escorted to the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
In the past two weeks, 18 other police officers have been arrested, bringing the total to 21 officers who have been arrested in connection with the case.
The officers face charges of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, torture and defeating the ends of justice. Some of the officers are from Chatsworth.
Seated on the front bench in the court gallery, Timothy Naidoo recalled the morning of August 29, 2018 when his family were notified that his eldest son, Regan, had died, after allegedly having been assaulted while in police custody.
Naidoo said Regan was taken in for questioning on August 28, along with two other men, in connection with a firearm.
“Since then there’s been a heaviness in my chest, but I know justice will be done. I’m here looking for justice.
“I don’t want anyone else to lose another child and have a family suffer like my family has suffered.”
He said he was not afraid and communities should not be scared to report errant police.
“I cannot be scared, because I have lost something I loved the most, my son.
“The biggest obstacle in our community is fear, if you have God that takes away the fear and that’s why I think justice will be done.”
Sitting next to Naidoo was his brother-in-law and Regan’s uncle, Jeffery Mahalingam, who has accompanied Naidoo every time the case has been in court.
Mahalingam said Regan had a six-year-old daughter and his wife had been expecting the couple’s second child at the time of his death.
“Regan’s son was born to never see his father,” said Mahalingam.
Both men stiffened as they watched the three police officers being led into the dock.
All three officers had dark bandanas covering their faces and were wearing dark blue jackets.
The court appearance was brief and the officers were given R3 000 bail each.
Magistrate Sophie Reddy said no contact was allowed with any of the witnesses listed in the matter and warned the officers that non-compliance would result in an arrest warrant and they would be arrested.
Facing the media outside court, Naidoo described his son as being “like a lamb”, saying: “All I heard was that there was an investigation and my son was taken in for questioning and that they (police) were looking for a firearm."
Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Grace Langa said Regan Naidoo had been picked up with two other men at a garage in Chatsworth by SAPS officers on August 28, 2018.
Langa said the three men were questioned by police officers and, in the early hours of the next morning (August 29), Regan collapsed at about 3am and was taken to RK Khan Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Yesterday, Langa confirmed the latest arrests and said more arrests were expected. All the arrested officers are scheduled to appear again on October 29.
A station commander is expected to be among the arrests to be made.
The names of the 18 officers arrested, prior to yesterday’s arrests, are Christopher Kistan, 50; Kubendran Kristen, 39; Indrin Maistry, 36; Brian Naidoo, 53; Xolani Quinton Sosibo, 35; Cedric Ian Pillay, 35; Proshen Lutchman, 30; Ugeshan Govender, 39; Malcolm Naicker, 39; Trevor Chetty, 44; Sicily Ngidi, 39; Pushpanthan Pillay, 48; Muhammed Raoof, 52; Eric Karsen, 39; Ralph Ogle, 43; Andries Botes, 46; Mlamhli Ntuka, 39; and Eric Morjane, 44.
Also yesterday, Ipid released its 2020/2021 annual report. In the foreword, Police Minister Bheki Cele said Ipid was “one of the key roleplayers in the fight against crime in order to bring stability to the country” and highlighted a 9% increase in cases reported by the public.
In the year under review, the report stated that a total of 106 disciplinary convictions were secured, involving 169 police officers. This included 11 police officers being dismissed for cases related to rape, corruption and death as a result of police action, while 22 convictions were secured involving 29 police officers, with the highest sentence handed down being 25 years.
The report said that while some targets were exceeded relating to death in police custody, raped in police custody, discharge of an official firearm, torture and assault, cases were also impacted by intermittent closure of offices (Ipid, NPA, Saps) and unavailability of witnesses because of Covid.
The Independent on Saturday