'Tortured to death'

POLICE are accused of torturing the father of a five-month-old baby to death.

POLICE are accused of torturing the father of a five-month-old baby to death.

Taxi boss Mduduzi Gumede reportedly died at the Douglasdale police holding cells, northern Johannesburg, last Friday.

Cybil Ngubane of Meadowlands, Soweto, said she had asked her son, Gumede and a friend, Bongani Mguni, to buy groceries at Fourways Mall.

Mguni told Sowetan: "Police (at the mall) found a lot a spanners in my car and started accusing us of breaking into people's cars. They took us to the cells where they placed a plastic bag around Mduduzi's head while jumping on his chest.

"One of them urinated in his face after he had fainted. When they realised that he was dead they cordoned the cell off and moved me to the Randburg police station."

Mguni said the officers also stole money from their wallets. "I heard the officer telling his colleague they had just made themselves R800."

Gumede's wife, Given Somwahle, who sat on a mattress alongside her mother-in-law, told Sowetan she was devastated as she would now have to raise their three children alone, with the youngest being only five months old.

Ngubane said: "We got a call that we should rush there (to the police station) with a lawyer because police were busy torturing my son. When I got there I was prevented from seeing him.

"Police later confessed that one of men detained had died of a heart attack. When I asked if this dead person they were talking about was my son . they told me to go and identify his body at a government mortuary."

Gauteng police spokesperson Superintendent Lungelo Dlamini said yesterday: "We will conduct an internal investigation."