Police throw victim in jail with perpetrators

| Nwabisa Pondoyi and Tariro Washinyira
Photo courtesy of Talent Chikwanha.

Talent Chikwanha alleges he was brutalized by police officers on 29 November when they mistook him for a criminal. He was in fact the victim of an ATM robbery at Fairview, Grassy Park.

Chikwanha, 30, is from Zimbabwe. He says the police did not question him when they handcuffed him. Instead they tramped on him and hit him.

Chikwanha had been withdrawing money when the ATM machine went out of order. Two men offered him a cellphone to contact Nedbank and gave him a fake Nedbank telephone number. When he called, he was asked to disclose his pin.

A few minutes later, police arrived and handcuffed Chikwana on his way home. They also arrested the two South African men. Chikwana says the men were in possession of Chikwanha’s bank card and R3,600.

Chikwana’s wife brought his cellphone to the police to prove the money had been withdrawn from his account, and that he was the victim of the crime. The police however kept him in the holding cells, saying they were waiting for a detective. Chikwana says they continued keeping him in the cells even after they obtained video evidence from Nedbank.

Chikwanha was in a cell with the criminals who had robbed him, he says. He felt his life was at risk.

On his release his bank card was returned to him, but not the R3,600.

Chikwanha said PASSOP advised him to go to the hospital, get medical records, and lay charges. But he could not get time off work to go to hospital. He did however lay charges against the police at the same police station where he’d been arrested.

Western Cape Police Spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said, “Police brutality is regarded as a serious matter which is best addressed when the complainant lodges an official complaint which will be investigated. Until then, this office will not be in any position to respond to allegations which are yet to be substantiated.”

Chikwanha said the two perpetrators who claimed not to have known each other when they were questioned by the police, were represented by the same lawyer and both appeared in court on 2 December.

“That is the last time I heard anything about them or the case,” said Chikwanha. “Having two guys rob me was bad enough … to have the people who were supposed to protect me [the police] brutally assault me like that was even worse.”

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TOPICS:  Crime

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