A Johannesburg metered taxi driver has detailed how he was allegedly assaulted by police officials without committing any crime and later framed by the same officers to cover up for what they did.
Njabulo Mswane claimed he was assaulted by a group of police officers on 8 January, 2020 on the corner of Small and Commissioner streets while speaking to a fellow church member who happens to be an Uber driver.
Mswane said while they were still talking, a SA Police Service (Saps) vehicle packed with officials stopped next to them and started assaulting him without any explanation.
“The guy I was talking to drove off because he did not know what was happening.
“They assaulted me until people started screaming. They then got back to their car and left.”
Mswane said after the assault, he drove to the Johannesburg Police Station to open a case, only to be found by the same officers who allegedly assaulted him.
He claimed the cops assaulted him again while he was trying to open a case at the police station.
“I met a police officer at the entrance who asked me who assaulted me and I said it was the police officers. He advised me to call the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
I did and I spoke to the police from Ipid who advised me to open a case and he told me he was on his way.
“While explaining to the officer who was taking my statement at the police station, the same officers arrived and started to assault me inside the police station again.
They took me to a holding cell, cuffed me and deeply assaulted me.” Mswane said he was assisted by a female official who asked the police to stop after an hour of them assaulting him.
“She asked them what was happening and they said I am a criminal,” he said. “She told them not to assault me because I was already at the police station.
A few minutes later, I was told I am under arrest for possession of ammunition.” Mswane said the Ipid official tried calling him but the police had taken his phone. “I only saw his missed calls when they gave me my phone while registering me,” he said.
“I called him and I told him what happened and he said he was going to speak to the seniors at the station because I was being planted [framed].”
Mswane said two days after the ordeal he appeared in court facing charges of being in possession of ammunition.
“I didn’t get bail that day, I was sent to Johannesburg Prison only to get bail on my next appearance. I attended the case until it was dismissed in 2021 for lack of evidence.”
Mswane added that after his case was dismissed, he followed up on his case with Ipid only to be told that they were still investigating.
“My concern is I opened the case in 2020 but I have never been called to court or been told anything by the investigating officer.”
Mswane said despite his possession of ammunition case being dismissed in court last year, the investing officer for the same case called him in September and told him they wanted him in court.
“Last week Tuesday I was in court and I was told the case is back on the court’s roll,” he said. “They said I am going to trial despite the case being dismissed last year.
They said there is new evidence against me. “I feel let down by Ipid because I think they are colluding with these officers.
One of the police officers who assaulted me passes where I work every day and it is painful.
In 2020, I was intimidated by police and I had to quit working in Carlton Centre because I felt unsafe.”
Ipid spokesperson Lizzy Suping said investigations regarding the matter have been completed and the case docket was sent to National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.