Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

A Durban mother and her son, 16, fled their flat in the city after the boy was allegedly beaten and burnt with a hot iron at the Durban central police station.

The family has since sought refuge outside Durban.

Phumla Ngoma said she and her son had laid a charge of assault against the SAPS officers at the same station.

Ngoma said they fled their flat fearing they would be victimised. She said the police beat up her son after allegedly accusing him of "being a drug dealer" and raided their flat in December.

"They came in and demanded that my son give them the drugs he sells," Ngoma said.

"He had nothing. They assaulted him and continued to demand that he show them where he kept the drugs."

She said when her son said he did not know what they were talking about one of the officers switched on her iron and burnt him on his back.

"My son had to receive treatment at the local clinic," she said. "I have the medical records. My son had previously been targeted by the police.

"I'm the kind of parent who does not take nonsense and I would have seen if the boy was involved in any drug dealings."

She said she had no problem if her son was arrested but to beat him up and then burn him with an iron was uncalled for.

"I had to move because my son fears that the police will beat him up again. It's been five months since the incident and still nothing has been done."

Meanwhile, senior colleagues at the station confirmed that the accused officer is notorious for "beating up suspects".

"We have junior constables who come back from the field traumatised and complaining that this officer beats up the suspects in the search of the truth," one officer said.

Durban central Police Commissioner Bala Naidoo said he was aware of the case.

He said three officers from his station and a metro police officer had gone to investigate the matter.

He said the docket on the matter had been transferred to the senior public prosecutor for a decision.

"Once the senior public prosecutor has decided on whether to prosecute or not we will start our internal investigation," he said.

On the issue of the beating of suspects he said it would be appropriate for his officers to report such concerns to him.