MOTHER AND BROTHER OF SUICIDE VICTIM IN POLICE CELLS SPEAK OUT
Family distraught after man’s suicide in holding cell
THE mother and brother of a Station Hill man who allegedly committed suicide in the Port Alfred police station cells have come forward to speak of their shock and grief.
Marilyn Plaatjies and her son Ryno said they wanted the public to know the identity of the man who allegedly hanged himself after being arrested for stealing a chocolate from Buddys/Highway Motors.
“It was my son, Anver,” Marilyn said. “He wasn’t a beggar. He had a home, a bed and a warm plate of food to come home to.”
The eldest of three brothers, Anver was 33 years old.
“I was upset when they called him a beggar,” his mother said, referring to the description of Anver in the MultiSecurity report.
MultiSecurity had responded to a panic signal at the shop on May 18, where they gave a description of the chocolate thief. Police joined the search and caught Anver in Station Hill with the help of MultiSecurity.
Anver’s younger brother, Ryno, said Anver had a job as a car guard at the R72 Saloon and had also taken various tiling jobs.
“He liked going to Buddy’s at night-time,” Ryno said.
Marilyn said Anver was epileptic and took medication for it. “He got fits sometimes. It would also help if he ate something sweet if he was having a fit. That’s why he might have taken the chocolate.”
Ryno said they had first heard Anver had been arrested from a neighbour the following morning.
“Half an hour after that the police told us he had committed suicide in the cell,” he said.
The family were shocked by the news. “We didn’t know him to be having suicidal thoughts. He had never tried it before,” Ryno said.
“He was very quiet and loving,” his mother said.
“If only the police had told us he had stolen a chocolate – we would have paid for it. When he was arrested that night no one at the police station told us.
“We have relatives at the police station and they didn’t tell us,” Ryno said.
He went with two of his aunts to identify his brother’s body in the police cell.
“He wasn’t even in the holding cell – the one that’s right by the cops where they can see you. They put him in cell 2,” Ryno said.
“The door closes completely – there’s not even light in there.
“They said he tore out the inside of a jacket and hung himself with it. It wasn’t his jacket, I’ve never seen him wear that jacket. He was still wearing his own jacket,” Ryno said.
“Where did the other jacket come from? Why was it left in the cell?”
Marilyn said they were still waiting for an autopsy report. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate is investigating the matter.
“The detective told us there was a docket opened into [Anver’s] death, but we haven’t heard anything since that Saturday [May 20], the day after he was found dead,” Ryno said.
TRAGIC END: Anver Plaatjies has been identified as the man who allegedly committed suicide in the Port Alfred police station cells after being arrested for stealing a chocolate. This photo was taken about seven years ago