The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) disclosed that it has arrested eight members of the SAPS on Monday for allegedly murdering a suspect in police custody.

Ndileka Cola, Ipid national spokesperson said the detainees had been arrested for being in possession of an unlicensed firearm and dagga.

Cola said “It is alleged that on 23 February, 2021 around 9pm police members from the Soweto crime intelligence gathering unit booked out three suspects from Lenasia police station to Protea police station”.

“As alleged, the police officers interrogated the first suspect. While they were busy interviewing the suspect, he collapsed due to a seizure. Paramedics were called and certified him dead.”

She said the police officers then took the two remaining suspects back to Lenasia police station in the early hours of February 24.

“Due to the significant disjunction between the police version of what transpired and that of the two surviving suspects, as well the fact that Ipid was never called into the crime scene, the directorate has reconstructed the crime scene to establish the facts of what actually occurred in that crime scene”.

Cola added that “The directorate is also appointing a private pathologist to get a second opinion on the actual cause of death. The investigation process continues.”

Recall that in November last year, Ipid arrested five police officers in Vredenburg, Western Cape, in connection with the murder and assault of Jason Heyns, who died in hospital last month.

At the time, Ipid said the arrest of the five police officers came after the directorate’s rural strategic interventions investigators worked on the case.

Ipid said the police officers allegedly assaulted Heyns during his arrest. After the assault, Heyns needed medical attention and was taken to hospital in Vredenburg, which immediately transferred him to Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town due to the severity of his injuries. He died in hospital seven days later.

Cola said the police failed to report the matter to Ipid, but the family alerted the directorate and an investigation ensued.