Mayibuye Mandela claims he was assaulted by police in the Eastern Cape on May 8. Picture: Supplied
Mayibuye Mandela claims he was assaulted by police in the Eastern Cape on May 8. Picture: Supplied

Nelson Mandela’s great-grandson to sue SAPS after alleged assault

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published May 12, 2021

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Pretoria - Former president Nelson Mandela’s great-grandson Mayibuye Mandela has called on Minister of Police Bheki Cele to train and rein in SAPS members who are “terrorising and bullying” people in rural villages.

He was allegedly assaulted by members of the SAPS on May 8 while going back home after visiting the Mqhekezweni Great Place heritage site, where the former president grew up.

The younger Mandela said as he was making his way home with three other people at around 8pm when they were stopped by the police officers who requested to search the car they were travelling in.

Mandela said they initially complied with the officers’ instructions and allowed them to search, but were taken aback when the officers requested that they lay down on the ground to be searched.

“When they started asking for us to lie on the ground I refused and requested to rather be searched standing up against the car, mainly because it had been raining and we were on a gravel road.

“As soon as I said that they said they were looking for people like me who think they know the law and then proceeded to force me to the ground.”

According to Mandela, the officers kicked his head to the ground, causing him to sustain a cut above his left eye, and also beat him up with a stick, which left him with bruises on his back.

He said he was upset that the policeman and woman had attacked him even though they did nothing wrong or illegal.

“My lawyers are finalising all the documents because we intend to sue the state, and I’m writing to the SAPS national commissioner General Kehla Sitole, the minister and provincial police.

“We can’t allow acts of police brutality to go on without retribution.

“The way things are, it's like we're still in the apartheid era where the police could do as they please.

“The department is to blame for the many incidents of police brutality we are witnessing today; they needed to employ people who are passionate about their job and not those looking to have power over vulnerable communities.”

He added that the lack of adequate training of the police would have also gone a long way in curbing incidents of brutality, as officers would know on how to better handle situations without resorting to bullying.

Mandela opened a case on Tuesday with the Madeira police in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.

The department said it was aware of the matter, but would discuss the details after receiving more information.

In 2020, the South African Human Rights Commission also raised its concern regarding the rising cases of law enforcement officers overstepping the mark on the general population.

Commissioner Chris Nissen said although what was happening in South Africa could not be compared to the public discourse taking place in the United States and in Europe around the use of excessive force by the police, intervention into the attitudes and behaviour of law enforcement on civilians was important.

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