City man lays charge af­ter ‘vi­cious beat­ing by rail­way of­fi­cers’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - Warda.meyer@inl.co.za KOWTHAR SOLOMONS

A HEI­DE­VELD man, who al­leges he was vi­ciously beaten by rail­way se­cu­rity of­fi­cers when he tried to in­ter­vene in the as­sault of an­other man, has laid a charge of as­sault against the guards.

Fun­gai Dube, 28, said he was beaten up and as­saulted with a gun by two Metro­rail se­cu­rity guards, con­tracted un­der Chippa Hold­ings. Metro­rail con­firmed the charge.

Dube told Week­end Ar­gus he was wait­ing to board a train at the Hei­de­veld train sta­tion last Satur­day when he saw the two guards beat­ing up a man who had jumped from one plat­form to an­other to catch a train. Dube tried to in­ter­vene, telling the guards they had “no right” to beat the man.

As Dube boarded a train, one of the guards al­legedly dragged him out, wrapped his arm around Dube’s throat and be­gan chok­ing him. “The guard forced me to the floor and stran­gled me with both hands. His part­ner pinned me down by driv­ing his knees into my chest. The other used his gun to hit me across the head and in the eye with the butt of his gun.” The guards hand­cuffed a bleed­ing and semi-con­scious Dube and dragged him to a hold­ing cell, kick­ing and punch­ing him en route. They also took his train ticket away.

Dube said he had se­vere chest pains and tried to call for help us­ing his cell­phone. He called the po­lice and was told a po­lice ve­hi­cle was on its way.

When Dube com­plained that the hand­cuffs were too tight the guards al­legedly tight­ened them fur­ther, which he said made his hands swell. Dube also al­leges that he wit­nessed the same guards try­ing to ex­tort money in ex­change for re­leas­ing other peo­ple in the same cell. “Some peo­ple were asked to pay R40 to be re­leased. Most paid.” When the po­lice ar­rived, the guards said Dube had been run­ning in be­tween car­riages and said they would lay a charge against him.

The po­lice tried to get Dube to go to a hospi­tal, but he said he in­sisted on lay­ing the as­sault charge first. One of the po­lice of­fi­cers sug­gested he should drop the case be­cause “it would not go any­where”.

Dube then went to the Philippi po­lice sta­tion, where he said the se­cu­rity su­per­vi­sors ar­rived and asked him not to lay charges be­cause it “would be bad for the com­pany”. Dube re­fused and al­leged he was then threat­ened with ar­rest, and told he would be thrown into a hold­ing cell.

“The se­cu­rity su­per­vi­sor, who thought I would drop the case, gave me a lift to the Pinelands po­lice sta­tion where my em­ployer picked me up and took me to Groote Schuur Hospi­tal,” he said. Dube later re­turned to the Pinelands po­lice sta­tion to lay a charge.

“I still have trou­ble sleep­ing be­cause of chest pains, but I am able to work. I will press for­ward with the charges be­cause th­ese men could se­ri­ously harm other peo­ple or even kill them.”

Metro­rail act­ing re­gional man­ager Ed­die Chin­nap­pen said he would im­me­di­ately take up the mat­ter with Chippa man­age­ment. “Metro­rail will not tol­er­ate any level of vi­o­lence against any­one.”

Chin­nap­pen said jus­tice “must be al­lowed to take its course”. Themba Yawa, a hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer act­ing as a spokesman for Chippa Hold­ings, said the com­pany was con­duct­ing an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

PIC­TURE: NEIL BAYNES

BEATEN: Fun­gai Dube

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