Cape Town - A brutal attack in which a 52-year-old mother of six was beaten and racially abused, allegedly by five university students, could see a Claremont police detective facing charges of defeating the ends of justice and bribery.
It is alleged the policeman attempted to make the charges go away.
Delia Adonis, 52, a cleaner at Stadium On Main in Claremont, laid charges after she was severely beaten – allegedly by a group of young men she said were drunk – in the shopping centre’s parking lot on October 17.
The Manenberg woman said on Sunday she witnessed the five men leave Tiger Tiger nightclub before they waited outside in Main Road for another patron, who they attacked. After she assisted the victim by getting the attention of law enforcement officers, she went to the parking lot to have a smoke.
“They were waiting for me and started swearing at me. They were asking why I helped that guy,” she said.
Adonis’s son Tesh-Lee, 17, works at the mall as a cleaner on a casual basis.
“My son came down to ask me for the keys to the storeroom to get some cleaning equipment,” she said.
Tesh-Lee said he saw the men circling his mother.
“I asked them: ‘Who do you think you are swearing at?’. And then one of them said: ‘This coloured b****’,” he said.
“Then I heard them say: ‘You’re a coloured c***, you coloured mother******’, to my mother. One of them kicked her from behind. She fell over and then they just all started kicking her all over her body.
“I tried to stop them, but they just pushed me aside.”
Adonis said she was so badly beaten her face was covered in blood and she could not move. “My son helped me up and we managed to get their registration. It was a black Volkswagen Polo,” she said.
Delia laid a complaint at Claremont police station on October 18 and was later called by a detective. She said the investigating officer, a detective, told her the alleged attackers were UCT students and that they were willing to pay her to drop the charges.
“The detective told me they would pay for my medical fees and travelling if I dropped the charges, because they were scared they would get expelled from UCT,” she said.
Adonis said she refused the money and made it clear that at no stage did she want to withdraw the matter.
“I’m really angry about this. I’m traumatised and still in pain. These youngsters verbally abuse us every weekend, and now this?” she said.
“I’m a mother of six – how would they feel if someone beat up their mothers like that?
“There was so much blood pouring from my face I couldn’t see. When I washed my face. I just thought to myself: ‘Boys, you can run but I leave you in the hands of the Lord’.”
On Friday, Wynberg district state prosecutor Nathan Johnson told the Cape Times the detective had contacted the court to inform them Adonis had dropped the charges.
“I was called and told the detective had lied to us about Adonis dropping the charges,” said Johnson. “I then located the docket and contacted the station commander at Claremont police, who relayed that the detective was suspended for another matter.
“After interviewing Adonis and reviewing her statements, the State will look to bring charges of defeating the ends of justice and possible bribery against the detective this week.”
Tiger Tiger general manager Shaun Lewis said: “We can confirm the incident involving five of our patrons outside of the mall, but we are investigating the alleged incident, which apparently happened in the parking lot. We have CCTV footage and will be handing it over to police.”
Police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said: “We are investigating the assault case. At this stage we cannot give the media any information regarding the detective in question.”
UCT spokeswoman Kemantha Govender said the university viewed the incident in a very serious light. The university would investigate to establish whether the students were enrolled at UCT and take necessary action once the facts were established.