Tito’s son held for being ‘too dark’
Johannesburg - Tito Mboweni has spoken out about xenophobic police officers after his son was arrested and threatened with deportation for being too dark.
The AngloGold Ashanti chairman and former SA Reserve Bank governor’s son Tumelo was pulled out of a taxi on his way to have breakfast with a friend in Sandton City on Saturday morning.
An SAPS officer pulled the taxi over at a roadblock and asked the driver for his driving licence.
“He then opened the passenger’s door and looked into the taxi as though he was doing a head-count. Then he saw me and said: “You! Come out,” Tumelo said.
He asked why he should step out of the taxi. “He said: ‘Just come out.’ And I did.”
The 24-year-old continued to ask if he had done anything wrong, but the officer just told him he was going to administer a body search.
After a thorough search, the police said: “Can I see your passport?”
“I don’t have it because I just came from home,” said Tumelo.
“Where is home?”
“No, home home.”
Tumelo repeated what he had said, but the officer didn’t believe him.
“You’re a foreigner here, and as you don’t have a passport, we’re going to deport you. You’re under arrest,” the officer said.
Tumelo said he finally called the friend he was on his way to meet in Sandton City and told him to go to his house and fetch his passport.
When the friend arrived, he was accompanied by Tumelo’s younger brother and Tumelo’s mother.
“My mom was furious,” he said.
The other officers at the roadblock tried to placate her, saying they had not known he was South African. “How can you profile somebody based on how dark their skin is?” she asked angrily.
The officer who had singled out and arrested Tumelo was unfazed. “I don’t need to explain myself,” he said. They were unable to get his name or badge number.
Infuriated by what happened to his son, Mboweni tweeted: “I am now gatvol with the xenophobic police. I will… phone the minister of police and the commissioner of police to complain about what happened.”
Attempts to get comment from the police were not successful.