Cops pay up for torture

South Africa
Police torture victim Zipho Ndlovu recalls his ordeal

JOHANNESBURG - When I first met Zipho Ndlovu I noticed how quiet he was and wondered if he was always like this.

On May 27, 2010 he was arrested in Bedfordview while working as a security guard. He was taken to the Midrand police station where he was questioned about a robbery.

Nlovu was held at the police station for four days and tortured.

In April the Johannesburg High Court awarded him R180 000 in damages for the torture itself, pain and suffering and lost earnings from the two weeks of work he missed as a result.

When you look at Ndlovu, you notice signs of what had happened.

He struggles to maintain eye contact. And while speaking about his ordeal has a habit of tapping his hands on the chair or biting his lip.

“Sometimes I think about what happened. Maybe I wasn’t wise enough. Even now I still think about it,” he says.

During the trial when he saw the two policemen involved, Ndlovu admits he was terrified.

“I got a huge fright when I saw them at court. I was going to the bathroom but when I saw them, I quickly turned around and went back into the court room. 

"I asked someone to walk with me (to the toilet),” he says.

Meanwhile his lawyer, Professor Peter Jordi from the Wits Law Clinic, says he wants to return to court for a bigger settlement.

He is convinced criminal remedies are no help when it comes to police torture cases because police are required to investigate their colleagues.

Ndlovu’s criminal case has still not been finalised.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said while the two police officers were departmentally charged, the hearing “was delayed due to the fact that the victim did not corporate to come and testify".

“The trial will be re-instituted since there has been a High Court judgement against the police,” he says.

Ndlovu denies being asked to testify in an internal hearing. He wants the two police officers involved to be punished.

-eNCA

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