City man lays charge after ‘vicious beating by railway officers’
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.
BEATEN: Fungai Dube