Pretoria - A pregnant student nurse was allegedly throttled and repeatedly slapped and punched by a police constable, who also knelt on her stomach, leading to the miscarriage of her child.
This was after Lucia Mualusi’s husband, Rudzani, failed to pay R2 500 for a bakkie he was leasing from the constable.
Rudzani, who runs a construction company, said he had met the constable, whose name is known to Independent Newspapers, three months ago at a food outlet.
“We had a conversation about cars,” he said.
“When I told him my car was giving me problems, we made an agreement that I hire his car.”
Rudzani said they had agreed on a payment of R2 500 every two weeks.
He had called the constable last Tuesday to inform him that he would be able to pay him only on the following Monday or Tuesday, instead of the Friday as agreed.
But to their surprise, the couple were awakened early on Saturday by the constable and seven other men, four of whom were in police uniform.
Rudzani said that after hearing several knocks at the door, he jumped out of bed to open it and found the constable and the others.
“The constable stepped backwards and pointed a firearm at me. He told me he wasn’t here to play,” he said.
“I went back to the bedroom to fetch his car keys. I passed them to my housemate to give to the officer because I was afraid.”
Rudzani said he escaped through the back window.
“I heard a gun shot and immediately jumped over the electric fence. The alarm went off and I ran to hide in a tree.”
Meanwhile, in the house, Lucia said, she was awakened by loud voices and the alarm.
“I jumped out of bed to see what was happening. I saw the officer grabbing my housemate through the burglar door, demanding the house keys.
“We told him to break the gate as we didn’t have the keys.”
Lucia said her ordeal began the moment the officer broke the gate and entered their cottage.
“He slapped me [across] the face. I told him to stop as I was pregnant, but he said he had not impregnated me. He said he did not care,” said Lucia, adding that her lower lip was by then bleeding.
She said she had wrapped herself in a towel, but the men instructed her to get dressed.
“They rushed me to get dressed. My child left the house without shoes or even a jersey on.”
Lucia said she was forced to get into the police vehicle with her daughter, aged three.
“I was beaten, slapped and pushed into the van. My housemates were put in another police vehicle.
“They drove with us for almost 10 minutes before stopping in a [field] opposite our house,” she said.
“Throughout it all, my daughter screamed and cried as this man continued to hurt me. He knelt on my tummy, strangling me. At that time I just thought of both my children.”
Lucia said the officer’s colleagues had told him to stop, but he continued beating her. “I was in so much pain. I started bleeding.”
She said the men stopped a passing ambulance and asked the crew to help her.
“The constable told me to tell the paramedics that the bleeding was caused when I attempted to escape through the window.”
The 24-year-old mother said she was taken to the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, with the police vehicle following them.
Lucia said when they arrived at the hospital, the constable who allegedly beat her pushed her into the ward in a wheelchair. She was then placed under police guard until Monday, when she was discharged.
“I had to tell him that I miscarried my child. I was three months’ pregnant.
“It was painful, especially when they told me I was under police guard for defeating the ends of justice. I was really horrified.
“I don’t think I’ll ever trust or respect a police officer again,” Lucia said, hugging her daughter.
She said that after being discharged, she was taken under police guard to the Midrand police station.
She was later transferred to the Olievenhoutbosch police station where, she says, she spent a night at the charge office.
Rudzani said the constable had arrested him on Monday on a charge of theft of a motor vehicle, at the Olievenhoutbosch police station. He was later taken to the Midrand police station, where he was detained.
He appeared in the Midrand Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
His attorney, Tshimangazo Magoma, said Rudzani had been granted R1 000 bail and was to be in court again on September 28.
“The case was postponed for further investigation,” he said.
The couple said the incident had left their three-year-old traumatised.
“Every time she sees the police, she questions why they had beaten me,” said Lucia.
The police would investigate, said spokeswoman Katlego Mogale.