The police minister has been ordered to pay R250 000 damages to a Free State plumber who says people now call him ‘Killer’ and that his life has been ruined after police arrested him for a murder he had nothing to do with and tried to torture a confession out of him.
The minister was this week ordered in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to compensate Fusi Samuel Motaung for his ordeal at the hands of Bethlehem police in March last year.
Motaung initially sued the police for R600 000 damages after he was arrested for the alleged murder of a “Pakistani”, tortured and kept in a dirty police cell for a weekend before the state prosecutor declined to prosecute him.
Motaung said in an affidavit he had been severely humiliated when seven policemen in full uniform arrested him at his house in front of his children.
He said the police had accused him of murdering a Pakistani, who they claimed had fathered a child with his ex-girlfriend. He said they had punched, kicked and dragged him around by his handcuffs and tied him to a chair, but he refused to confess to a murder he had not committed.
He laid an assault charge against the police, but the investigation has not yet been completed, and he was placed in the witness protection programme because he feared for his life due to threats that the police would kill him.
Motaung said he had a lucrative plumbing business with four employees before his arrest, but his business collapsed because people in his small community call him “Killer” and didn’t want him near their homes because they didn’t trust him any more.
“I know nothing about this offence, and there was no reasonable cause to arrest me … What is aggravating is that the police are supposed to be law-protecting citizens but treated me like a criminal and themselves acted like members of a mafia.
“The arrest and assault was well-orchestrated and executed but completely unnecessary.
“… I hate the police for the way in which they literally destroyed my life, my business and the trust of my children in me.
“I really do not wish this upon my greatest enemy in life,” Motaung said.