Investigation opened after woman allegedly assaulted by police in Tembisa

By Yasmine Jacobs Time of article published Nov 21, 2021

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Cape Town – An investigation was opened after a police officer allegedly assaulted a couple at the Ehlanzeni Hostel in Tembisa earlier this week.

A video showing the assault has been doing the rounds on social media and YouTube, prompting an outcry, with many demanding the arrest of the police officer.

It is alleged that on November 15 at about 1.30am, the victim was in a taxi with her colleagues when she was assaulted by the taxi driver on their way home after attending a Christmas party.

She alleged that the taxi driver hit her with a bottle on the left cheek and then removed her as well as four of her colleagues from the taxi, leaving them next to the Ehlanzeni hostel.

She then contacted her boyfriend to fetch them and take them to the police station to report the incident.

The boyfriend arrived and took them to Tembisa South police Station.

At about 1.45am, a colleague of the victim opened a case of assault against the taxi driver.

She was told to sit down and wait for the sector vehicle so that they can go to the place where the taxi driver resided.

They waited on the bench in the client service centre. After a few hours of waiting, they enquired about the sector vehicle again. The colleagues told the officer that they cannot leave the police station without being assisted.

“After a few minutes, the woman police officer came with several other police officers and started to assault the boyfriend. The victim tried to rescue her boyfriend and she was assaulted as well,” said Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) spokesperson Grace Langa.

“She managed to take videos but those officers chased at them, caught them at the gate and grabbed their phones and deleted the videos then they threw the victim’s phone on the ground.”

The video shows a scuffle with the police officers. The victim allegedly got pepper-sprayed while she was on the floor at the station.

The victim and her boyfriend then went to Norkem Park SAPS to open a case of assault against the taxi driver as well as Tembisa South police officers.

Norkem Park referred them to Ekurhuleni cluster or back to the Tembisa South police station.

The pair decided to go to Ekurhuleni District and the colonel contacted the station commander of Tembisa South to assist them.

They went to Tembisa South to see the station commander and were assisted.

Later that day, they were arrested by the police officer who allegedly assaulted them when they came for night shift at their workplace.

Langa said that although the identities of the suspects are known, more facts need to be obtained from witnesses and statements need to be collected of all involved in order to make a determination and then an arrest.

“Police have rights too, so when you make arrest, one has to make sure you arrest the right person out of a group of officer that appear on the video,” Langa said, adding it is important that Ipid handles the case properly in order to avoid a mistake that could be avoided as a result of pressure.

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