Shot by cops hunting for suspect, pastor wants justice

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

Mistaken for former fugitive Ananias Mathe - before his capture this week - the pastor shot by a police officer is now threatening legal action.

The Reverend Motlotlo Ezekiel Rabotapi, 40, while walking near a school, was confronted by "aggressive" cops searching for Mathe. The pastor panicked and when he ran away was shot in the leg by a police officer.

He told Sowetan yesterday that he was still traumatised over the incident and was in severe pain.

"I can't sleep at night and I experience difficulty in walking because of the plaster cast I'm wearing."

The North West pastor, who preaches at the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Winterveldt, was wounded by plain-clothed police officers travelling in an unmarked car in the Klipgat-Madidi area on November 27.

Rabotapi was mistakenly identified by a local resident as the notorious Mathe, who had escaped from Pretoria C-Max prison.

Following Monday's arrest of Mathe, Rabotapi said: "I want justice in the form of "compensation."

Rabotapi's grievance will be handled by his church. He said he would only learn of its decision from the head of the church, Bishop James Davis, when he returns from a trip overseas.

"I expect the government to compensate me for my pain and suffering, violation of my dignity as well as the emotional and physical abuse by the police," he said.

"After they shot me in the leg, they tackled me to the ground," charged Rabotapi, who said the injury he received now prevented him from properly carrying out his religious duties.

On Sunday he conducted a church service for the first time since being discharged from Odi Hospital, but "with difficulty".

l According to Inspector Erica Roos of the Marico police, the police inspector who shot Rabotapi was still on duty, pending an internal investigation.