Wed Jul 30 09:00:43 SAST 2014

'Cops broke my bones as deputy chief watched'

Jul 16, 2012 | MZWANDILE kaBIZOKWAKHE |

HE was allegedly yanked out of his car and beaten by a police captain last week Thursday.

BEATEN UP: North West traffic officer Stephen Phoko claims a police captain broke his leg and dislocated his shoulder. Picture by Tsheko Kabasia

 I asked what I'd done. He said I'd scratched his car, so I asked him to get a quote so that I can pay (for the damage) 

Mafikeng municipality traffic cop Stephen Phoko alleges he was assaulted in North West police deputy commissioner Lieutenant-General William Mpembe's presence.

"His own bodyguard, in his presence, broke my leg and dislocated my shoulder," says Phoko from his home in Mafikeng.

Mpembe was hauled before the provincial parliament on Thursday to explain his role in the matter.

He told the legislature's portfolio committee on safety: "He came towards me very fast and insulted me in a manner I can't describe to this parliament.

"I asked what I'd done. He said I'd scratched his car, so I asked him to get a quote so that I can pay (for the damage)."

Mpembe said his staff officer, whom he identified only as Captain Engelbrecht, had gained access to the car through the window to try to stop Phoko fleeing the scene.

"I asked my staff officer to take him to the police station so that I could speak to his commander to find out if (he was allowed to drink). He then rushed to his car.

"He threw himself over and cried he was injured. I didn't assault anyone ... and I'd never allow my staff officer to assault a member of the public in my presence."

North West police spokesperson Brigadier Thulani Ngubane tells Sunday World Mpembe didn't assaulted anyone.

"The man was drunk and threatened the general, so the captain defended him," he says.

Phoko says he was on his way home from work when his wife called to ask him to buy electricity.

After doing so "I was sitting in my car sending an SMS to my wife with the voucher numbers.

"I heard someone bash my car with their car door. I looked up and saw a man in police uniform.

"Another man opened the rear door and did the same."

Phoko says he rolled down his window to remonstrate but could see no dents, so he wanted to let the matter go.

"Do you know who you're talking to?" he says he was asked by the police captain.

"I told him I could tell he was a police captain but I wasn't interested in anything other than that my car had been bashed. Then the passenger demanded 'Do you know who I am?'" Phoko says.

"He banged on my car with his hands, first on the front passenger door and then the bonnet.

"I realised the situation was getting out of control and rushed to my car, locked the doors and tried to start the engine.

"The captain launched half his body through the passenger window and pushed me out of the car. At that moment a police car arrived. I ran to it screaming that the man was assaulting me."

"Mpembe screamed at them to arrest me," says Phoko. "I asked him why and he said it was for drunk driving.

"I told them I hadn't been drinking, that I'd just come from work, but he insisted. So I put my arms together and surrendered."

But he says they just left him on the ground writhing in pain.

"I asked a bystander for a phone to call an ambulance."

Phoko opened a case of assault the following day.

"The investigation is concluded as far as I know, but I've heard nothing of the drunk driving charge," he says.

mzwandile@sundayworld.co.za; follow me on Twitter @mzwaik

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Wed Jul 30 09:00:43 SAST 2014 ::

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