thePolice tied my hands And covered my face with plastic. I gasped for air. They held and strangled me for five minutes then gave me electric shocks

THE wife of a police inspector who vanished eight weeks ago claims detectives have intimidated her.

THE wife of a police inspector who vanished eight weeks ago claims detectives have intimidated her.

Sarah Rapeta says police tied her hands and subjected her to intensive interrogation in efforts to find her husband.

"They tied both my hands and covered my face with a thick plastic as I gasped for air. They held me and strangled me for three to five minutes while my jacket was pulled over my head," Rapeta told Sowetan this week.

"Right now, I am heartbroken. I feel powerless. I mean, how could they even think that I killed him?

"I am in love with my husband. I have loved him since the first day we met. I will not harm him. He is the champion of my children."

Inspector Bachipile Andrew Rapeta, of GaRankuwa, north of Pretoria, went missing on June 2 on his way home from work. His Nissan Almera was found two days later in the veld behind the old traffic department building in Zone 15.

The car was locked and nothing appeared to be missing.

Police have mounted an intensive search for him, drawing in the dog unit, the air wing and divers - but all their efforts have proved fruitless thus far.

Sarah Rapeta says two officers, a Constable Tshagane and an Inspector Mothinyane, picked her up at home in Mabopane two weeks ago. They said Superintendent Israel Mdluli had instructed them to bring her to GaRankuwa police station.

"I was surprised when I saw the car heading towards Rustenburg instead of GaRankuwa police station," she said.

"In Rustenburg, the two officers took me to a room with shaded windows. There were three other black officers and an Indian. They then started questioning me about the whereabouts of my husband. I insisted I knew nothing about his whereabouts."

She said the officers repeated the same questions over and over again. The police applied electric shocks to her body when she did not provide the information they wanted.

"You can see the scars on my hands.

"I was tortured and stripped of my human rights. They must know that if I am a suspect in my husband's murder, I am still innocent until the law proves me guilty.

"They sent me back home the same evening.

"I do not understand the police's double standards. First they sent their counsellor to come and comfort us, and a chaplain to pray for us, but afterwards they come and torture the family."

Rapeta said she had not yet gone to a doctor.

"I am innocent. The last time I saw my husband was on the morning he left for the office. He never returned."

Inspector Matthews Nkoadi of the GaRankuwa police said Superintendent Mdluli was not based at the station. He denied any knowledge of the alleged torture.

As the search continued yesterday, Rapeta professed her love and anxiety for her missing husband.

"Wherever my husband is, he should know that I love him - and our children love him too. The house seems empty without him, and all I am asking for is his safe return. We feel very lonely without him.

"If he is still alive, please come back so that we can continue with the good life we enjoyed. If he is dead, let us have his remains so that we can give him a dignified send-off," she said.