On 6 February, Bernard Toyambi of People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) alleges his family was left traumatised after a group of more than 12 armed Parow Police officers broke into his house at midnight, claiming that they had received an anonymous call that there was a woman crying in his house.
Toyambi says it was traumatic for his children aged 16, six and three they were already sleeping. He says the police did not knock they broke down his back door, barged in and searched all the rooms. When they did not find anything, they just said sorry, and left in four police vans.
“I asked the officer in charge of the group why they acted like that,” said Toyambi. “She said they got a tip off that there was a woman crying in my house. It was a horrific experience things you expect to watch in movies when police apprehend a criminal … They break into my home and disturb my family, but they do not arrest people who stand by the road a few metres away from where I stay, who are terrorising people and are suspected of selling drugs.”
The following morning, Toyambi went to open a case at the Parow Police station. The captain agreed that what the officers did was wrong and promised to investigate. The captain aised Toyambi to return to the police station to fill in forms to claim damages done to his car mirror and his kitchen door.
He received an SMS with his case number and the investigating officer’s name. Toyambi said, “I will wait for a week and see if there is progress on the case, but if nothing happens, I will report to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).This is the third time to be abused by Parow Police in my home.”
On 31 December 2014, a Congolese man, Riggen Masimbu, was arrested by Parow police and spent New Year’s eve in a holding cell. He was released on 3 January 2015.
His family contacted PASSOP for assistance.
When Toyambi from PASSOP phoned the police and told them it was wrong to detain somebody for more than 48 hours without appearing before the magistrate, he was told the police were still investigating and he should phone them again after two hours. When he phoned two hours later, he was told the police were releasing Masimbu without charges.
On 28 July 2014, not-for-profit organisation Voice of Africans for Change wrote a letter to the Parow police requesting a meeting with the station commander. The organisation was concerned about the way Parow police were arresting immigrants, and the fact that some of the Congolese immigrants only understood French. The request was turned down.
On 21 August 2014, Parow Police responded by letter to Voice of Africans for Change: ‘according to Parow SAPS records there is no arrests of illegal immigrants at this stage’.
Voice of Africans for Change chairperson Germany Kalombo said he does not understand why when the complaint was about illegal arrests of immigrants, the Parow Police replied about arrests of illegal immigrants.
Parow police referred GroundUp to Belville police station. Brigadier Mentoor, the cluster commander at Bellville, confirmed: ‘an officer has been appointed to investigate this matter and will revert to you shortly’.
Mentoor also drew attention to the fact that a CongoleseSAPS forum had been established to address safety issues. Enquiries could be made with Lt Col De Kock on 021 918 3862.
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Source : GroundUp