016 13.02.2014 A Soweto man who was assaulted by police offices for a crime he did not know anything about, fears for his safety at his home. Picture: Itumeleng English

Johannesburg - A Soweto man who claims to have been pistol-whipped, pepper-sprayed and assaulted is furious that no disciplinary action has been taken against the police officer he alleges orchestrated the attack.

The man laid an official complaint against the officer for illegal arrest, but instead the policeman was promoted to colonel while there were charges against him.

Clifford Molefe accused Lieutenant-Colonel Patrick Molopyane of having an affair with his wife, and he laid a charge against him after he alleged the police officer had tried to run him over.

Molopyane in turn laid a charge of intimidation against Molefe.

Molefe said that in January 2012 he had been talking with friends in Meadowlands when a number of police vehicles stopped and surrounded them. He claimed he and his friends were assaulted and pepper-sprayed. He alleged Molopyane was present and was in charge. He said he was put into a police van and driven to his house, where his car keys, cellphone and money were allegedly stolen.

Molefe said he was then taken to Lyttelton police station in Tshwane, where he was later released on medical grounds.

During his ordeal, he claimed he was slapped, hit with the butt of a gun repeatedly, and his handcuffs were twisted to cut into his wrists. Molefe said he was assaulted in front of his child.

“She was hugging me, so they slapped and pushed her away. She was 14 at the time,” he said.

Molefe then went to the provincial commissioner’s office to lay a complaint against Molopyane, as the police officer worked at the head office. A brigadier was appointed to look at the case. A provincial investigation’s report completed last January and seen by The Star indicates there was wrongdoing on behalf of the police, and that they had interviewed numerous witnesses who corroborated Molefe’s story and who were also assaulted.

“A minor stated that she was thrown to the ground by an unknown policeman during her father’s arrest. She also stated that the police assaulted her father during this process,” the report said.

The report recommended that Molopyane be departmentally charged.

Molefe said that at this stage he was informed by the police that an internal disciplinary process would be brought against Molopyane, but for some reason, he understands this never went ahead. Molopyane then received a promotion to colonel and was transferred.

Molefe then took his complaint to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

A report seen by The Star says the directorate found that Molopyane’s actions constituted “serious misconduct”, and they believed he should be placed on special leave.

But Molefe said nothing had been done, and he has now reported the matter to the national commissioner’s office.

Molopyane denied any wrongdoing and said Molefe had been waging a vendetta against him. He said Molefe was threatening to kill his children and was phoning his wife, alleging he had had an affair. He said he opened a charge of intimidation, and it was the Lyttelton police who had decided to arrest Molefe.

“I never touched him, but the only person he is after is me, not the other policemen who allegedly assaulted him. He is pestering everyone, complaining nonstop,” said Molopyane. “I am subjecting myself to the process. I have been departmentally charged and it has gone to the bargaining council, where an independent person can look at the case.”

Provincial spokesman Brigadier Neville Malila said the original complainant to the matter was not Molefe, but his brother, and they could not take the complaint further until he himself complained.

“At the time of Mr Molopyane’s promotion, no formal complaint or departmental investigation was received or was outstanding from this office,” said Malila. He said Molefe was not happy when he was told this.

“It appears he has a personal vendetta against Mr Molopyane, and indicated he won’t rest until he is destroyed,” Malila said.

Molefe said he just wanted proper action taken after the findings of formal investigations recommended that Molopyane be charged.


The Star