'amaBherete wreak havoc'
IN another episode of alleged abuse of power by members of the tactical response team, known as amaBherete, a Soweto family says they are traumatised after the unit attacked them.
A group of heavily armed TRT members stormed the house looking for an unlicensed firearm, an event that culminated in the 'torture' of Micheal Zwane and the slapping of his wife, Zanele.
"It was just after midnight when we suddenly heard loud bangs on the doors and windows," Micheal said.
"My wife peeped through the window and discovered that it was the police. We then opened the door."
The father of two said they were attacked in front of their children, aged 10 and 14.
Zanele said one of the officers grabbed her by her clothes and snatched the house key.
An army of about 40 officers stormed into their house and told them to lie on the floor while enquiring about a gun.
"Michael was even called by his second name that he hardly uses and is not even in his ID book," said Zanele.
"One of them asked me where the gun is After getting it from the safe along with its licence, he requested for the unlicensed one."
While Michael was allegedly being tortured, his wife was locked in one of the police cars.
Without a warrant, the police searched the Zwane household, leaving everything out of place and damaging furniture.
"They tied Michael's feet and hands behind his back with belts as he lay on the ground," said Zanele.
"In a state of panic, Michael's head was covered with a plastic bag as an attempt to force the 'truth' out of him."
After two hours of kicking and questioning, the officers realised he was innocent and untied him, leaving Michael bleeding and in pain.
A medical report from Tshepo Themba Clinic in Dobsonville confirms all the injuries.
The incident has left the Zwane family in shock.
"We may not have big physical scars, but what they (TRT) did to us hurts. Torturing my husband in front of the kids was the worst. They are still traumatised, you can see it in their eyes," said Zanele.
In another previous incident, the TRT were caught on camera wreaking havoc at a tavern in the Vaal in Gauteng. In just 12 minutes, patrons were told to lie on the ground and beaten before being searched by the officers.
The tavern was left damaged and costs were endured by the frustrated owner.
Police Ministry spokesman Zweli Mnisi commented on the behaviour of the TRT.
"They are being monitored through departmental policies that govern police officers," he said.
"This monitoring is part of the approach that is centred on command and control, which ensures that police officers' conduct is in line with respect for human rights."
Mnisi said that in alleged cases of assault or brutality by the police, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate must do the right thing, by thoroughly investigating and ensuring that those who break the law, face the full might.
"When such cases are investigated properly, it will secure harsher sentences which will send a strong message that criminality within the SAPS will not be tolerated," said Mnisi.