An­other metro of­fi­cer as­saulted

Beaten sense­less by gang of four while shop­ping with wife

Pretoria News - - NEWS - SAKHILE NDLAZI sakhile.ndlazi@inl.co.za

CON­STA­BLE Landile Zwedala, who was beaten up by four men while buy­ing food with his wife, says there is a gen­eral dis­re­gard for metro po­lice of­fi­cers by so­ci­ety, and this is caus­ing a great deal of fear among his col­leagues.

Video footage of him be­ing as­saulted by four men has emerged and is do­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia.

That peo­ple stood around and took pic­tures while he was be­ing punched and kicked un­til he lost con­scious­ness, was wor­ry­ing, he said.

“There is no re­gard for metro po­lice of­fi­cers on the streets. So­ci­ety feels they can take us on,” the 38-year-old of­fi­cer said.

In his two-year stint as a metro of­fi­cer, Zwedala said he had en­coun­tered nu­mer­ous in­ci­dents which showed lack of re­spect for his pro­fes­sion, but noth­ing like the lat­est one.

“Some­one will be vi­o­lat­ing the the rules of the road and when you try to warn them with a hooter or a siren, they swear at you and raise their mid­dle fin­ger,” he said.

A vis­i­bly shaken Zwedala, with two black eyes and bruises to his face and head, spoke to the Pre­to­ria News in the pres­ence of spokesper­son Se­nior Su­per­in­ten­dent Isaac Ma­hamba, say­ing he was ter­ri­fied to go to Tam­botie Mall in Rand­fontein af­ter what hap­pened to him.

Zwedala said he was buy­ing food with his wife at Ro­man’s Pizza on a Satur­day af­ter­noon at about 5pm, on their way back from church.

While in the queue, he no­ticed four men pin­ning down a man at the car park, not too far from where he was.

The of­fi­cer, who was off duty and in civil­ian clothes, rushed to find out what was hap­pen­ing.

“Al­though I was off duty couldn’t let this hap­pen,” he said.

By­standers just looked on while se­cu­rity guards ig­nored the in­ci­dent com­pletely.

As he got closer, he in­structed the men to stop as­sault­ing the man, who he de­scribed as “small and vul­ner­a­ble”.

But the four ig­nored him and car­ried on as­sault­ing the man.

“I told them I was a po­lice of­fi­cer and had a pis­tol with me. And look­ing back that was prob­a­bly the big­gest mis­take I made,” he said. I

With­out warn­ing one of the four charged at him and gave chase while the rest fol­lowed, Zwedala said.

In a des­per­ate at­tempt to save him­self Zwedala ran back to the mall for cover. While run­ning back to the mall he was tripped by a man stand­ing at the en­trance near the Mugg and Bean restau­rant.

“And that is when my world came crash­ing down, lit­er­ally kick by kick. In the video footage taken by a fe­male by­stander Zwedala is seen be­ing kicked, punched and dragged across the floor, by the four men.

“While they were hit­ting me I was more con­cerned about se­cur­ing my pis­tol be­cause I didn’t want it to end up in the wrong hands,” he said.

He was then dis­armed and his pis­tol thrown aside and the men con­tin­ued to as­sault him.

In the video one of the men is seen kick­ing Zwedala af­ter he tried to stand up, be­fore he col­lapsed again.

“What was even more sad than the men beat­ing me up, was the peo­ple just stand­ing around tak­ing videos and pho­tos.

“What has be­come of the hu­man race? In­stead of lend­ing a help­ing hand, we take videos for so­cial me­dia to have some­thing to speak about,” he said.

His wife then se­cured his pis­tol and told the four men that her hus­band was a metro of­fi­cer. The four then fled the scene.

It is be­lieved that the owner of Mugg and Bean had been watch­ing the whole in­ci­dent on his CCTV cam­era and sub­se­quently called the po­lice.

The owner was also able to iden­tify one of the men as an em­ployee at a shop in­side the mall.

Zwedala laid charges against the men. “While lay­ing the charges I was stopped and called to come and iden­tify two of the men who had handed them­selves in, which I did pos­i­tively,” he said.

The men were ar­rested on the spot but later that night re­leased on R500 bail.

Zwedala’s prob­lems were far from over, as a cou­ple of days later a case was also opened against him.

“They said I had ap­par­ently ap­proached the four men while they were mind­ing their busi­ness and threat­ened to shoot them,” he told the Pre­to­ria News.

This comes against the back­drop of a Jo­han­nes­burg metro po­lice of­fi­cer be­ing at­tacked by church­go­ers for try­ing to tow an il­le­gally parked car ob­struct­ing traf­fic.

It is un­der­stood the car be­longs to a mem­ber of the church in Hill­brow, and dur­ing the as­sault one of the of­fi­cers was dis­armed, as­saulted and left un­con­scious.

Said Ma­hamba: “We as the de­part­ment are go­ing to be work­ing closely with the po­lice to get to the bot­tom on this mat­ter. We con­demn any beat­ing of po­lice of­fi­cers, more es­pe­cially with the in­for­ma­tion at hand that our mem­ber was try­ing to res­cue a mem­ber of the pub­lic who was as­saulted.” The mat­ter is due to be heard by the Rand­fontein Mag­is­trate’s Court on Novem­ber 23.

What has be­come of the hu­man race? In­stead of lend­ing a help­ing hand, we take videos for so­cial me­dia Con­sta­ble Zwedala

PIC­TURE: VUSI ADONIS

Tsh­wane Metro Po­lice of­fi­cer Con­sta­ble Landile Zwedala was as­saulted by a group of four men when he tried to as­sist a man they were as­sault­ing.

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