A middle-aged North West truck driver who was arrested at a tavern and kept in an overcrowded police cell for three days has been awarded R140 000 in damages.
Judge Dawie Fourie ordered the minister of police to compensate 46-year-old Bloemhof truck driver Tolo Molefe for his unlawful arrest and detention in April 2014.
Molefe initially claimed R300 000 damages for being deprived of his freedom and the humiliation and discomfort he suffered.
Molefe told the court he was drinking a beer at a tavern at lunchtime one day when he was arrested for no apparent reason, put in the back of a police van and taken to the Bloemhof police station, where he was detained for three days and then released without being charged.
He was put in a tiny police cell with only one toilet, no mattress and two blankets. Five other inmates initially shared the cell with him, but later during the weekend the numbers grew to about 50.
The toilet was not enclosed and those using it did not have privacy.
Detainees were only given two meals a day consisting of three slices of bread and a cooldrink.
Judge Fourie said Molefe’s case was unfortunately another example of the abuse of police power in an open and democratic society.
He said Molefe was arrested and detained for no reason and was not only deprived of his liberty, but also subjected to extremely humiliating circumstances.
“Having to share a small cell with many other suspects, having to use an open toilet, sleeping without a mattress and with only two blankets to share among them during April said it all,” he added.