The Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) in Limpopo, together with the SAPS, have launched an investigation into the death of an inmate at the Maake police holding cells.
Mack Molemane, 31, was found dead on Saturday morning, a day after he was arrested in connection with murder, rape and being in possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Police spokesman for the Mopani district Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said Molemane was arrested on Friday afternoon in GaMasoma village outside Tzaneen.
Molemane allegedly shot a 39-year-old man dead at his home and later threw his body into a sewer before allegedly raping a woman, 28, after dragging her into the bushes. Molemane allegedly repeatedly raped the woman.
She escaped and alerted the police, who searched for the suspect and arrested him. Molemane spent the night in jail and was found dead the next morning.
Ngoepe said Molemane was found with bruises all over his body and that the police believe inmates might have assaulted him.
But Mapitsi Moloto, a senior investigator with the ICD in Limpopo, said they were still investigating whether Molemane was assaulted by the inmates or the police.
"What we have is the police's version and that is not enough to convince us," she said.
Moloto said if police were found to be in the wrong strong action would be taken against them.
Ngoepe said they were investigating a murder case against the inmates. - Frank Maponya