820 17/10/2013 Busisiswe Ngwenya from Ivory Park near Thembisa in Ekurhuleni relates her ordeal of being beaten and stripped naked by members of Ivory Park Taxi Association after they came to her home and ransacked it. A neighbour who was apparently stabbed by her brother during a party at her place had called the assailants. Behind her is her mother Thoko. Picture: Nicholas Thabo Tau

Johannesburg -

She was dragged out of her home, beaten and stripped naked while begging for mercy in full view of her neighbours.

Her fault?

Talking back and questioning alleged members of the Ivory Park Taxi Association, after they beat up her taxi driver brother and ransacked their family home.

It began on Saturday last week, when the Ngwenya family threw a birthday party for their two-year-old niece. “Our neighbour, Mohale Mahasha, came to the party and he was drunk and causing havoc. In the process, my brother, Simphiwe stabbed him… Our neighbour was taken to the hospital and he was discharged on Monday. We agreed as a family that our neighbour should lay a charge against our brother,” Busisiwe Ngwenya told The Star on Thursday.

Mahasha said that on his way to lay a charge at the police station on Tuesday morning, he met officers who advised him to rather go to the association’s offices and lay a complaint there because the attacker was a taxi driver.

“When I got to the association’s offices, they asked me who the person was. I told them and they told me to take them to where he lived, and I did,” he said.

Later that morning, three men arrived at Ngwenya’s home, claiming to belong to the association.

Twenty-one-year-old Simphiwe was in the back of the car, handcuffed, she said. “When I asked them where their warrant was to come into my house, they slapped me,” she said, her voice quivering as tears streamed down her face.

“They wanted to take me away to wherever they were going to torture my brother, but I fought back. They dragged me outside. My daughter Bonakele tried to help me out of their grip, but they started hitting her too.

“One wanted to tear my blouse off, but couldn’t, and they took off my trousers and panties, opened my legs and started laughing,” a visibly traumatised Ngwenya said.

The men left her and her daughter and sped off with her brother.

Ngwenya said: “I opened a case of assault, but haven’t had a chance to speak to the investigating officer because he is never available when I call or go to the station.

“I can’t sleep because of the trauma… when it happened, it felt like they stripped away my dignity. I was helpless.”

Thabo Lehaha, a family friend, said the association had become a law unto itself.

Ngwenya’s brother was being treated for his injuries at Tembisa Hospital.

The Star tried numerous times to get a comment from the police, but the reporter was sent from pillar to post and was eventually told that the communication officer was off sick.

Taxi association spokesman Moses Matlaila said an association member had been suspended over the allegations that he was involved in the attack on Ngwenya. He wouldn’t divulge the member’s name.

“We will work with the police to get to the bottom of this. For the association to be labelled as abusive is totally wrong and uncalled for. We are very apologetic, we haven’t met with the family because it will seem like we’re trying to intimidate them.

“It’s so disturbing… for a man to undress a woman and laugh at her. It’s totally out. I’m very much apologetic to the family… I’m sorry, so very sorry,” he said.

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The Star