A Springs motorist who was arrested and kept in custody for three days has been granted leave to proceed with a damages claim against the Ekurhuleni municipality and police minister.
The High Court in Pretoria granted an order condoning Mark Oberholzer’s failure to institute his damages claim within the legally prescribed six months.
Oberholzer, 45, of Strubenvale in Springs, said in court papers that he and Ampie Kruger were travelling on the N12 highway on the evening of November 30, 2015, when they were confronted by an Ekurhuleni traffic officer, who accused them of reckless driving and impersonating a police officer – despite them doing nothing wrong.
They were instructed to follow him to the OR Tambo Airport police station where they were arrested.
The officer later found two firearms in Oberholzer’s vehicle and added another charge, negligent handling of a firearm, because he did not have a gun safe inside the vehicle.
Oberholzer and Kruger were first detained at the airport police station, then at the Tembisa South and Boksburg North police stations and were only taken to court for the first time on December 2.
They were released on bail and all charges against them were later withdrawn.
The men claimed their arrest and continued detention was unlawful as the charges were false and brought for no apparent reason.
There was no warrant for their arrest, the offences detailed in the docket were not schedule offences and they were deprived of their freedom for longer than 48 hours.
Oberholzer insisted there was no reason to arrest and detain him as he posed no risk to the community, there were no grounds to believe he would harm himself or anyone else, and there could not have been any grounds to suspect that he had even committed an offence.
He approached an attorney in Germiston to institute a damages claim, but went to see another attorney in Pretoria after hearing nothing from her for 13 months, after it became apparent that summons was never issued.
This resulted in his new attorney only issuing and serving the claim on the government respondents in November last year.