Father wants probe into killing

Masoka Dube

The father of the suspect who was beaten to death by awaiting-trial prisoners at Arconhoek police station want his son's murder to be investigated.

Kgaugelo Malele, 23, was kept at the Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, police station after he was arrested on Saturday and charged with theft and house-breaking.

Malele died in the cell in which he was locked with three other awaiting-trial prisoners. He died after he was allegedly beaten to death by his cell mates.

His irate father Elkan Mashego said he did not understand why his son was placed in the same cell as people who were arrested for serious crimes such as murder while his son was arrested for a petty crime.

"The police should explain why my son died in their police station cell. And it took them two days to tell me about the incident."

The victim's aunt, who accompanied the police to the mortuary to identify the body, said Kgaugelo was found with soap stuffed into his mouth.

The father also wants to know if the warrant for his son's arrest was issued before he was arrested.

Independent Complaints Directorate spokesman Dikeledi Phiri said: "We can interfere because the killing took place in the police cell.

"Police were supposed to take care of the suspects in their premises because it is their responsibility.

"I would advise the family to consult our regional office and report this matter so that we can investigate."

The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights said such incidents often happened in South African prisons.

"We want to send our deepest condolences to the family of the murdered suspect," said the president of the prisoners' organisation, Golden Miles Bhudu.