‘They robbed me of my only son’

Hendrik Grobler sits in his wheelchair which he has been confined to as he recovers from injuries sustained from Moot police station members. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Hendrik Grobler sits in his wheelchair which he has been confined to as he recovers from injuries sustained from Moot police station members. Picture: Sizwe Ndingane

Published May 26, 2011


Beaten and kicked, hit and punched, smashed to a pulp and left for hours alone in pain. This was the fate of four South Africans at the hands of police whose sworn oath to duty compels them to protect and serve the country’s citizens.

For the families of Petrus Riaan Velloen, 37, Hendrik Grobler, 35, and brothers Mujaheed, 22, and Mika-Eel Moosa, 18, none of whom were charged with any crimes, the nights when their loved ones were attacked will be etched in their minds forever.

Velloen’s battered and bruised body was handed to his family a week after he was allegedly beaten to death in the cells of Florida police station six months ago.

Grobler’s frightened family was called to a Pretoria hospital in May after a gang of Moot police station officers repeatedly kicked him in his broken back, despite him pleading for mercy after he was attacked at a city garage while replacing his car tyres.

The Moosa brothers’ family were repeatedly denied access to their sons, as they lay seriously injured and bleeding in the cells of a Cape Town police station in September. The two had been attacked after driving through red traffic lights and a police roadblock.

The attacks, and dozens like them, are part of the mounting scourge of police brutality in the country.

All that the families - who were represented by Pretoria attorney Delia de Vries - want in their fight for justice are answers and those who are responsible to be brought to book.

For Velloen’s mother, Hendrieka, the death of her son who was arrested for being drunk in public has left her devastated, especially in view of the fact that his killers’ only punishment from the SAPS was “corrective counselling”.

“It was not his time to die. They have robbed me of my only son. I want them to be brought to justice,” she said.

Quoting from an e-mail sent by the Independent Complaint Directorate’s (ICD) principal Gauteng investigator, Lesiba Madubanya, Velloen said she had been told those allegedly responsible for her son’s murder had been sent for “corrective counselling” after being found guilty in a departmental hearing.

Like Velloen, the families of Grobler and the Moosa brothers want those responsible for the attacks to face justice.

Grobler said: “I want those who did this to pay. Because of those thugs, I am now confined to a wheelchair.

“I told them I couldn’t move. I told them I had a broken back, but they refused to listen. They demanded to see my injuries and then they kicked me.

“They would not stop. These guys are criminals and must be locked up,” he said, adding that he had been prevented from opening a case at Moot police station.

The Moosa brothers mother, Gasina, said her sons were in continuous pain. “Mika-eel suffered serious back injuries and Mujaheed had bad head injuries with both of them being hospitalised.

“When I got to the police station they refused to allow me to see them. They would not give me answers as to why they beat, kicked, punched and whipped my boys.

“What makes this worse is that they were not charged with anything. On top of this when they opened a case the police who took their statements threatened them.

“We will get justice no matter what,” she said.

ICD spokesman Moses Dlamini said Velloen’s murder investigation was complete and they were preparing a report for the Directorate of Public Prosecution, while the attack on Grobler was being investigated.

De Vries said they had served letters of demand on the Police Ministry. - Pretoria News

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