Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
4 Jun 2014
8:00 am

Victim gets R220 000 for police torture in custody

Ilse de Lange

A young Soweto man who was severely tortured by the police – who also looked on while a group of civilians tortured him – has been awarded R220 000 damages.

Image courtesy

Judge Cynthia Pretorius in the South Gauteng High Court ordered the minister of police to pay the amount, plus interest, dating back to February 2012 to 24-year-old Tebogo Makgale.

The minister conceded members of the police had in November 2011 tortured and assaulted Makgale.

Makgale was at his grandmother’s house with friends when three policemen entered the yard, told him and his friends they were suspects in a housebreaking case and loaded them into a police van.

Makgale was locked up at the Moroka police station, but was fetched from the cells the next morning. His hands were cuffed behind his back for the next three days.

He was taken to an office at the police station, where officers filled a blue plastic glove with water and repeatedly pulled it over his head and face while questioning him.

He was taken to an open veld where two policemen punched him and later the same day taken to a parking area at the police station, where he was again tortured with a rubber glove and water and hit on the knees and ankles with a rifle barrel while a group of Zulu men looked on.

The men kicked and stamped on him, threatening to kill him and tortured him by dripping melting plastic on his bare skin while hitting him with a sjambok. One of the men also tried to extract his big toenail with the back of an axe while the policemen looked on.

Makgale was thrown back into the cells with his hands still cuffed behind his back.

He was taken to court for the first time four days later, where he was released on a warning. All charges were withdrawn against him a month later.

Makgale had to move and live with his uncle, as the police continually harassed him. He now lived in constant fear they would return and torture him again.

Judge Pretorius described the acts by the police as despicable and said the protectors became brutal torturers and instigators.