PHYSICAL assaults and stabbings perpetrated by police officers, people sleeping on human excrement, and inmates being denied their life-saving chronic medication.
These are the alleged “inhumane and hazardous” conditions which inmates, who are awaiting deportation, said they had to contend with at Pretoria Central police station after being sent there on June 24, after their release from Tshwane’s Kgosi Mampuru Prison.
The Daily News has seen videos and pictures depicting the harrowing environment in which Zimbabweans and other foreigners are forced to live before being deported, and spoke to several inmates on condition of anonymity.
Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, spokesperson for the Gauteng SAPS, confirmed yesterday that the police were aware of “these concerns”, and that an internal investigation had been initiated.
According to the inmates, things came to a head on Thursday when they revolted against Pretoria Central officers, who they claimed had denied a prisoner his vital ARV medication.
Further allegations are that the “abused” inmate had been repeatedly assaulted every night since his arrival at Pretoria Central “only because he asked to take his life-saving medication”.
“On the day we stood up and fought the police, they had missed our brother’s medication time by 45 minutes. When they came to take him to reception where his medication was stored, they went down beating him, they came back beating him and beat him up some more in the cells,” said one observer.
“Some of us intervened, and the officers started fighting us as well. One officer – a white man – took out a knife and stabbed a brother on his arm. Another officer – a Mr Baloyi – took the knife away from the white cop. When both of them realised that we were fighting for the brother who wanted his ARVs, they left us alone.”
“They are treating us very badly,” another detained inmate said. “They even denied us a shower; the one in our cell is not working. Cells are not cleaned and when we ask for cleaning materials, the officers refuse.”
Putrid-looking excrement and filthy ablution and shower facilities inside the cells are visible from visuals sent to the Daily News.
Colonel Dlamini said Pretoria Central police station management viewed these allegations seriously and were investigating.
“However, the cleaning materials may not be provided to the inmates for safety reasons. The police cells are cleaned by our cleaners every day. It’s unfortunate that during the hourly cell inspections, these concerns were not raised with our officers. Community members are encouraged to come forward with any cases alleging police brutality so that they can be properly investigated,” Dlamini said.