Minister of Police has decided to offer the current chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) Ayanda Kota R120,000 in damages after conceding that he was assaulted by the police.
The UPM chairperson was hurled into police custody in 2012 after he was accused of theft by an academic from Rhodes University. The unnamed academic roped Kota to the police after the latter misplaced her two books.
Kota allegedly promised to replace them in writing but the academic insisted that he must pay dearly for the loss. While Kota was in custody in the Grahamstown police station, he was brutally beaten up by police – which resulted in a lot of damages.
A witness, who doubles as Rhodes University professor, Richard Pithouse, attested that Ayanda Kota was unacceptably brutalized by the police.
“They just started hitting him. A whole group of them just assaulted him. Cops were calling other cops to come and see the ‘newsmaker’ of the year, he recalled.
The victim was able to sue the South African Police Service (Saps) with the help of the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa later that same year.
Reacting to the victory, UPM welcomed the development. The movement said, “At a time when police brutality is on the news at university campuses around the country the Unemployed People’s Movement welcomes this concession.”
The movement vowed to continue to oppose police brutality and to struggle for a socialist alternative to the crisis engulfing the country.
The conquering hero, Kota described the settlement as a victory, irrespective of the prolongation.
“I am very happy and excited to be vindicated. [Poor people] are not violent criminals, the excited leader said.
Cases of wrongful arrests have continued to flaw the South African Police Service’s assiduity. In June, Police minister Nhleko was ordered to pay a Johannesburg mother, Thandeka Duma, for wrongful arrest and detention.
The Soweto woman sued Nhleko and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba for R500,000 after she was arrested for fraud and locked up for nine days in October 2010.