The case against a Centurion father who was arrested for breaking curfew to buy baby formula has been withdrawn by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
This was revealed during AfriForum’s media briefing on Monday morning.
According to the organisation’s Gerrie Nel, the mother and her baby were discharged from hospital on Thursday, 7 January. The next day, they realised the baby was restless and had difficulty breastfeeding.
The father then rushed to a Clicks store in the Netcare Unitas Hospital just after 1am to buy baby formula and was stopped by the police on his way back home.
He was arrested on the spot for breaking curfew and held until 11am the next day.
A video clip that was played during the briefing shows the father and a police officer accusing each other of being disrespectful, as the father also tells the officer he had just come from buying baby formula.
“I will show you that I’m black. Akere you’re white. Call the station commander. You’re not going to sleep at your place tonight. Continue recording, akere you’re a journalist. I’m going to arrest you. You’re wasting your own time,” said the police officer in the clip.
According to Nel, the police officers allegedly refused the father permission to take the formula home and the mother had to walk to where her husband was being detained in order to fetch it.
“The worst part is that after seeing the mother of the child, the police still detained the father and the mother had to drive home with a baby on her lap.
“The irrational conduct of the police was exposed. They deliberately ignored evidence that the couple showed to prove their innocence (the sales receipt). They discarded the information in the docket that would have shown that the couple were innocent. This was no mistake, it was deliberate.
“It’s high time that the police commissioner takes action against police officers who abuse their power.
“The interaction with the SAPS was atrocious. We will not stand for the abuse of abuse, especially in a matter like this where there is absolutely no angle to look at this and conclude that the father broke regulations. We will support her if she proceeds with a civil claim,” said Nel.
The father of the baby said he had been left traumatised by the incident, which has changed the way he views police officers.
“It is a traumatising event. It’s not just that moment with the police that is traumatising but moments later when you’re with your family. It’s something you want to forget but it changes your view of the police and what they’ve done,” he said.
While an apology was welcome, it would not serve it’s purpose.
“It won’t make everything disappear,” he said.
Family lawyer Lily Rautenbach said the couple would proceed with a civil claim and a formal complaint against the officers in question and the SAPS.