National 10.9.2016 06:55 am

Malinga wins damages claim

Former MEC Meshack Malinga

Former MEC Meshack Malinga

Former Mpumalanga agriculture MEC Meshack Malinga has been awarded R120K following his unlawful arrest for ‘stealing’ ANC nomination documents.

Acting Judge S Kekana in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the minister of police to pay the amount to Malinga, resulting from his March 2012 arrest at the parliamentary constituency offices in Middelburg.

The police were called out to the offices when members of the public started demonstrating against Malinga after he confiscated nomination documents from branch secretary Gift Sebeloane. Malinga, who is a member of the provincial legislature, testified that he had taken the documents because Sebeloane was not authorised to be in possession of them as he had not been officially deployed to deal with branch nominations in the region.

Malinga said Sebeloane then called other members of the ANC for support, an argument ensued and he ended up having to be rescued by the police after being attacked by a mob.

He was escorted back to the parliamentary constituency offices, where Sebeloane and others attended a meeting with senior ANC official Lindiwe Ntshalintshali. He was asked to return the documents and was arrested when he explained that he had left them in the care of someone else.

He was taken to the police station, formally charged with theft and released a few hours later. He said he was very embarrassed when he walked into the grocery shop the next morning and saw a picture of himself handcuffed and being led to a police van on the front page of a newspaper.

He said the arrest was in full view of his colleagues. The crowd that attacked him had humiliated and distressed him and harmed his dignity as a former MEC. Ntshalintshali testified that she had pleaded with Malinga to return the documents as he was neither authorised nor entitled to possess them, but he refused. She then called the chairperson, who advised her to lay a criminal charge against Malinga and to call the police.

Judge Kekana said it appeared the arrest was at the insistence of Ntshalintshali and no proper investigation into the theft allegation had been conducted.

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