The brutality from the police is alarming as yet another city family have been left traumatised in less than a week. The police allegedly ransacked their home, assaulting their son without any explanation in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Mhlebi family in Nyanga said despite the area’s police station confirming the raid being authorised, officers could not explain why it was conducted. Their 22-year-old son Vuyo’s body was left swollen after he was allegedly assaulted with the back of a gun.
Noloyiso Rwexana , police provincial spokesperson confirmed a case of assault was opened and referred further enquiries to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).
The incident comes days after 27-year-old Athlone News journalist Nabeelah Mohedeen was also traumatised when she was confronted by an alleged act of police harassment while home alone last Friday.
Mohedeen, who was alone in the house, asked several times for a warrant but was ignored. At about 5pm, 20 police officers arrived at her Brooklyn home, where they demanded entry to her property for reasons she has still not been made aware of.
Reacall that a week ago, 30-year-old Leroy Oliphant died while allegedly in the custody of the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) in Epping Forest, Elsies River.
The young father was last seen alive at about 2am on September 8 when police officers removed him from a residence in Debden Street. A family friend that he stayed with heard Oliphant crying in pain, allegedly being assaulted before going quiet.
Later that day, the friend was told by police that Oliphant had died in a hospital after complaining of chest pain and saying he was struggling to breathe.
Whicle speaking to the media, Vuyo said “They kicked the door open. Just as I was about to stand up and ask what was going on, I received a boot kick in my face then after that multiple fists in my face. They even beat my girlfriend and I was totally confused as to what exactly was happening. They beat me with the back of a gun on my head and on my back and neck.
He added that “I was asked about things that I don’t know, such as guns. They took my clothes from my wardrobe, R800 which was on top of the table and took my cellphones, including that of my girlfriend, and threw them in the water.
“What is painful is that I just bought these clothes and now I am left with nothing. I am now confused if these people were real police officers or notorious individuals disguised as police officers because they did not issue anything that shows they are authorised to raid.
“If they were police officers why would they take my belongings including money and crush my TV and why was my girlfriend beaten because she was clueless just like me. My whole body is swollen, I can’t move properly like I used to do”.
His mother, Sindiswa Mhlebi, said she was told to keep quiet while her son was crying for help.
She said “It was around 3am when police officers knocked off the front door and at that time I was not properly dressed when I heard the sound. I screamed. They told me not to scream. They were looking for my son. When I questioned what was happening they pushed me aside and shouted at me, asking for Vuyo, and I told them where he was.
“Other police officers climbed on top of the roof and in less than a moment I could hear my son crying. He was being beaten by police officers with his girlfriend I tried to go and see what was happening. They told me to remain right where I am. My neighbours, who heard the noise, came to ask what was going on. They were threatened to be beaten and were told to stay at their houses. I am scared now.
Sindiswa added that “Our lives as a family are in danger. We don’t know if these people will come again and I don’t know how we are going to lock the doors because they vandalised them”.
Nyanga community policing forum chairperson Martin Makasi said police officers should not ill-treat community members when conducting raids.
Makasi said “Police should practise patience and treat people with respect. I urge community members to note number plates of the cars the police officers drive and also their names so that the investigating process can be easier, and whoever authorised the raid will be held accountable. We know at times that community members can be very difficult and can provoke officers but that does not give them power to do as they wish”.