Ten years after alleged police assault, man still seeking justice

Ten years after he opened a case against police who allegedly assaulted him, a disheartened Mayedwa Mvela feels he is being denied justice.

The victim wants justice

Mvela, a former municipal worker, claimed that in 2011 he was manhandled and forcefully pulled by the neck by police who assumed that he was a looter at the scene of a truck accident.

He related how his assault had unfolded.

“There was a truck loaded with cooking oil that overturned on the hill on Southwell Road, so as municipal workers we were pouring sand on the road because it was slippery due to the split cooking oil. When we were doing that I was not wearing work uniform so this policeman came to me and pulled me by my neck. I told him that I am working for the municipality but he did not stop it,” Mvela said.

He went on to say that the policeman who had assaulted him instructed his colleague to release a dog to attack him. However Mvela managed to escape being injured by the dog.

“I ran to my supervisor and told him the story. He advised me to go open a case at the Port Alfred police station. When I was opening the case one of those policemen was following me. He showed up at the door but he did not enter inside and he turned away. Since that day that case has never progressed. Nothing has happened to it, ever since I opened it,” he said.

TotT was told the case being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), but we were referred to provincial SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohli.

Nkohli said: “It is said that on Thursday March 17 2011, the complainant, who was then 31 years old, opened a case of common assault against the police. He alleged that he was assaulted by the police who were guarding a delivery truck that was involved in an accident from being looted.”

Nkohli further confirmed that the victim was said to be with the municipal employees and pouring sand on the cooking oil that had spilt on the road when he was attacked.

Revealing the status of the case, which is unknown to Mvela, he said: “After the completion of the investigation, a senior public prosecutor decided not to prosecute and the case was withdrawn. Police would like to advise the public that by law, police have the responsibility of protecting goods and property in all crime scenes, over and above their primary function of preservation of crime scenes for forensic purposes.”

Nkohli went on to say any external interference or disturbance of crime scenes is prohibited.  The involvement of service providers such municipal and towing services have to be authorised. For example, clearing of debris by authorised service providers, or towing of damaged vehicles have to adhere to such approval before they tamper with goods, or start clearing the scene or roads.

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