Despite an investigation by SAPS and the Independent Police Investigation Directorate (IPID) on charges of assault and grievous bodily harm to a Hartbeespoort businessman, two Tshwane metro police officers are back on duty, the Tshwane Metro Police Department said this week.
Well-known Hartbeespoort businessman, Stanley Kirton was allegedly assaulted, injured and intimidated by two TMPD officers on the R511 near Hartbeespoort on 8 June after being pulled off the road. Besides cuts and bruises, Stanley has sustained serious injuries to his ankle which is still in a cast.
Stanley, his son (16) and a friend (16) were on their way back to Hartbeespoort when an officer jumped into the road to pull him off. As he had a harrowing experience with metro police officers at the same spot last year, he put on his hazards, indicating he was driving somewhere more public.
“In August last year, I was manhandled, thrown into a police van and the officers took my driver’s licence, telling me to go withdraw bribery money before I could get my licence back,” he said. Kormorant at the time reported on similar cases and the notorious blue light brigade operating in the same area.
“When they pulled me off this time, I was not going to take a chance. I had two children in the car, and their safety was crucial. As the police had advised motorists in the media to drive to a public place when they were suspicious of metro officers, I followed the advice and drove to the nearby animal welfare organisation. At first, the officers drove past and then returned. They told an employee at the gate that I was a most wanted man.”
The officers told him he had driven away from them and were arresting him. “One said to me ‘tonight you sleep in jail and you are going to get raped, and your children are going to juvenile jail.’ They wanted to cuff me and told me to get into the police van. My son tried to talk to them but they hit him in the chest, from which he still has a bruise.”
Stanley told them he wanted to get his licence from the car. They followed and while he was taking it out the officers allegedly scraped their car keys and the cuffs over his arms, causing them to bleed and once again told him “tonight is your night.” Stanley was grabbed by his clothes, pushed and thrown to the ground as can be seen in the video.
In the meantime, his son’s friend was filming the incident, and one of the officers allegedly hit the phone that she was holding close to her chest, knocking it to the ground. She also sustained bruises.
Stanley insisted they went to a police station. “They told me I could drive with one, and the other will drive my car with the two children. I was not going to allow one to drive off with the children. I told them I would drive my car with the children and follow behind them. We pulled out of the shelter’s property but about 200m down the road they pulled off next to bushes. I got out and asked them why we had stopped. They asked me if I had something like cool drinks or money in the car to give them and then I can go. I told them I had nothing.”
Meanwhile, Stanley’s friends, whom he had contacted earlier, alerted the Hartbeespoort police and they arrived on the scene. “The police parked on the other side of the road and spoke to the TMPD officers. They did not speak to me. After a short conversation, the police left and the TMPD officers told me to go.”
Stanley immediately drove to the Hartbeespoort police where a case was opened and the incident was reported to TMPD.
Upon enquiry, TMPD told Kormorant that the department is aware of this incident and can confirm that it is receiving the attention it deserves internally. “The two officers were earlier suspended but are currently back at work,” TMPD spokesperson Superintendent Isaac Mahamba told Kormorant.
He said such cases are also reported to the Independent Police Investigation Directorate. “We will cooperate with them fully to ensure transparency. We will at a later stage or in future inform the public on the progress of the case,” he said.
He said cases like these can be reported to the TMPD Conduct unit at 083 657 2998 or the nearest police station.
Along with the criminal case, the police are investigating, Stanley has also instituted civil legal action. “Since the incident, I have spoken to several Hartbeespoort residents with similar experiences in the same area. For the safety of all motorists, urgent steps have to be taken to expose and stop these people from terrorising motorists.”