Suspect dies after alleged police torture, yet a month later 'nothing has happened'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Five police officers who allegedly tortured two suspects last month, resulting in the death of one, are still on duty as if nothing happened.

The policemen from Hazyview in Mpumalanga allegedly tortured Nyiko Ngomane, 23, and Amos Rathethe, 39, for nearly 10 hours in an office on September 16.

The two badly-bruised men were then locked in a cell for the night.

Rathethe was found dead the next morning.

Ngomane said the police tortured them because they wanted the "truth" about the alleged theft of about R7000 from Butterfield Bakery in Hazyview where the men had been employed.

Captain Leonard Hlathi, spokesman for Mpumalanga Commissioner Afrika Khumalo, said: "The provincial commissioner is still considering what departmental steps to take against the members who are allegedly involved in the matter."

He saidthe Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), a police watchdog, was also investigating the matter.

Rathethe's funeral took place at his home in Jerusalem near Hazyview on Sunday last week and was attended by most villagers.

Rathethe's half-brother, Thomas Ndinisa, said people were angry at what he termed "police brutality at its best".

"There was serious tension because people wanted answers.

"We showed them the shocking pictures of my injured brother and everybody realised he had been murdered," said Ndinisa.

He said the family was still awaiting the results of the postmortem to determine the exact cause of Rathethe's death.

The postmortem results have not yet been released to the family.

The police initially tried to cover their tracks by telling different versions of the circumstances that led to the injuries of the two suspects and the subsequent death of Rathethe, Ndinisa said.

"They came with all sorts of explanations," he said.

"First, they said fellow inmates killed my brother and later they said he died at Matikwane Hospital after experiencing pains, so we were confused."

Rathethe's mother, Rose Masuku, alleged that the family had only later learnt that police had "tortured him to death".