News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday August 18th 2019

Rastafarian man robbed by police

Thabo Ndaba alleges that Cape Town Central Police officers beat him and stole R3000 from him. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

 A Cape Town Rastafarian man is today approaching the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) complaining that police robbed him of about R3000 at a police station.

Thabo Ndaba,41, will lay a charge against police which includes claims of assault, wrongful arrest and seizure of property with the IPID in Bellville.

Ndaba, looking traumatised, said that two weeks ago he was walking towards a friend’s house in the city centre at around 10pm when he was “accosted” by officers known to him only as Constable Conradie and his colleague, who proceeded to conduct a body search on him.

He said they found nothing besides his rightful property.

In his written complaint for the IPID he said “as these were police officers, I had trusted that that they would let me go and so I didn’t protest their actions”.

To his surprise, he said, he was taken to the central police station’s holding cells, being neither charged nor informed of the reason for his detention.

Inside the cell, he said the officers hit him against the floor and the wall and he suffered bruises “all over the body” including on his knees and fingernails. The officers went on to mock and make derogatory comments about him and his Rastafarian religion.

They pulled out and tried to cut my hair (dreadlocks) with a scissors. I was detained [and] I was still nursing bruises after being hit by police officers at the station.” He was charged with “riotous behaviour”.

Ndaba said when he was released from the cell the following day, his Nokia cellphone and US$300 in cash were not returned to him.

He said “much to my dismay, I was charged with riotous behaviour. At no point did I ever express opposition to the police officers, although I knew that what they did was improper.”

He suggested that police initially arrested him thinking he was a foreigner and “did not have rights”.

Ndaba is a South African and said he had lived in the city for the last 15 years without having committed any crimes.

I sell drums and play music to earn a living. I’m pissed off. Police should fight criminals. I’m not a bad man,” he said, adding that the money the police allegedly robbed him of were his earnings after selling drums to Argentinian tourists.

He said he wanted his cellphone and money back and called on the IPID to “help me in this situation and see to it that disciplinary action is taken against the police officials”.

Papers from the police station indicated that he should pay a fine of R100 for riotous behaviour or appear in the community court on July 8.

Western Cape Police spokesman Captain Frederick Van Wyk confirmed Ndaba’s arrest, saying when he was released he was given back R318 which police said they had kept for him.

Van Wyk also said if Ndaba reports the matter to the IPID they will have to get more information from the police’s watchdog for investigation. — Francis Hweshe


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