Sphamandla Mtshali had instituted a claim of over R2 million against the police minister and the national director of public prosecutions in their official capacities in the high court, Pretoria. He claimed he was unlawfully arrested and assaulted by the police, and that he had contracted tuberculosis in jail while awaiting trial. He later withdrew the TB claim.
Judge Wendy Hughes turned down all his claims, but found that there had been a delay in proceeding with his trial after he was refused bail.
It emerged that a regional court prosecutor in KZN decided on October 14, 2010 not to proceed with the case against Mtshali. The decision was recorded on his case docket on the same day, but his trial was postponed to the end of February 2012 - a year and eight months later. It was only then that he was told he was free to go.
But as Mtshali had been awaiting trial in a Newcastle jail, he had to return to the jail to be freed. It then emerged that Correctional Services had only set him free the next day. The prison authorities had earlier conceded the omission, and at the time agreed to pay him R25000.