Butikie Matseke described the day as one that will forever be etched in his mind. “It started on a high note. I had just received money to deposit to my kids so they can come visit me, as they don’t stay with me,” he said on Tuesday.
Excited to send the R1750 to his two daughters who live with their grandmother, he boarded a train to Pretoria Station with his money safely tucked inside his backpack. On arrival at Pretoria Station and while on the way to a bank, Matseke’s eyes were caught by two jerseys that were being sold by a street vendor. It was about 10am and he was on Paul Kruger Street going towards Minaar Street.
“While I was buying the two jerseys, which cost R50 each, I saw two marked police cars - a Toyota Quantum and a Ford Ranger, park in front of me. A man in civilian clothes walked towards me and asked to search me.”
At first reluctant and asking for some form of identification from the police, Matseke said this was the first red flag.
After a scuffle five other men then emerged from the two vehicles and searched him.
“I had told them I had my children’s money in my backpack and that they must not touch it. Instead they did the opposite they snatched it and I heard one of them say: “Here is the evidence”.
He said he was then manhandled by the police and forcibly thrown into one of the vehicles along with four other “nyaope” boys. Police then allegedly drove around with them arresting other people along the way.
“They also assaulted us as they stopped to arrest others. Bursting into tears, the father said he didn’t worry much about the beatings and assault: “What pains me is the money I was suppose to send to my kids to come and visit me. I haven’t seen my girls in years because of financial constraints.”
Matseke said he was taken to Pretoria Central Police Station and charged with possession of dagga. “What a joke. They beat me, took my money and then framed me,” he said.
The next day Matseke was released without appearing in court or given a date for a court appearance.
Confirming the alleged assault, Mustafa, the man Matseke bought the jerseys from, said he saw the six men snatch Matseke’s money and assault him before throwing him into the back of the vehicle.
A case has since been open with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
In what has been seen and verified by the Pretoria News, an investigator, Mr AN Sefera, has instructed the station commander of Pretoria Central Police Station to open a case.
It reads: “Please assist the complainant by opening a criminal case docket and Ipid must be informed to collect the docket.”