Arrested and charged with loitering

Thembela Khamango

Thembela Khamango

Kamogelo spent the night of his first birthday without his mother after she was sjambokked and thrown into a police van "for loitering".

Welile Ndlovu, 27, said she was returning from a flat where she had held her son's birthday party when a police van stopped alongside her in Fox Street, Johannesburg.

"A policeman climbed out of the vehicle with a sjambok. He didn't say anything, he just started whipping me. He also slapped and kicked me. Then he shoved me into the back of a van," said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu said the police took her to Johannesburg Central police station where the sergeant told his colleagues that he had arrested her because he had seen her associating with robbers.

"Other police officers asked him where the robbers were. He said they had escaped," she said.

Ndlovu said she was walking with three other people when she was arrested. Fana Mahlaba, her boyfriend's brother, asked the officer to arrest him instead.

"He pleaded with him not to arrest me because I have a toddler. The policeman assaulted him with the same sjambok and left him bleeding on the street."

Ndlovu said she was given forms to fill in at the police station and was shocked to read that she was being charged with loitering.

"I went back [to the officer] and asked for the real reason behind my arrest. To my surprise, he changed his story and said I was loitering."

Ndlovu also asked the police sergeant why he had not arrested her three companions if she had been loitering. He did not answer.

She said she only signed the paperwork because she feared being assaulted again. Once she had signed the forms, she was told she would only be released once she had paid a R300 admission of guilt fine.

Her boyfriend, Jocy Mahlaba, said: "I had no choice but to pay the fine. I was looking after the baby alone. It was not easy."

Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht confirmed that a woman had been arrested for loitering.

Ndlovu has laid a charge of assault against the sergeant.