'Police mistook me for a criminal and beat me up badly'

A LIMPOPO man has allegedly been severely assaulted by police officers after they mistook him for a criminal.

Ditjie Maja, son of Limpopo Gambling Board chief executive Serobi Maja, was driving in Polokwane on Tuesday when he was allegedly stopped by police and severely assaulted.

Maja, 36, said he was driving alone when he was stopped by police. He said before he could get out of his car, two policemen, who were apparently following him in a police van, pointed guns at him. They ordered him to lean against the car so they could search him.

Maja said before he knew it, the officers kicked and punched him until he fell down. One of the officers handcuffed him.

He said more police arrived in five police vans. One of the policemen suggested they call "the complainant" to come and identify him. When the complainant indicated that Maja was not "the culprit", the police removed the handcuffs and left him lying in a pool of blood.

Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe confirmed that they had opened a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm against the officers.

Maja's lawyer, Solly Rangoanasha, said they would sue the state for assault, unlawful arrest and defamation.