The woman, employed by one of the textile companies in Nhlangano, claimed she was tortured from late evening until the following morning by the officers, who demanded that she gives them information on the whereabouts of her husband, who is allegedly wanted for a string of criminal activities. The woman, who requested anonymity, said she was already in bed at around 11pm when the police officers allegedly arrived aboard a white kombi and knocked loudly on her door.
“I was already fast asleep when I was awakened by a knock. The police, after introducing themselves demanded that I disclose my husband’s whereabouts as they were looking for him. I explained to them that I did not know where he was and this seemed to irk them and they got violent,” said the woman.
They then dragged her out of the house and threw her inside the kombi. She said she was not given a chance to dress up and she found herself leaving from the house with only a kanga around her waist and was barefooted.
“They called me all sorts of names while stating that until I show them where my husband was hiding, I would not return home alive,” she said. The woman said since it was late in the night, she did not recognise the place where she was taken to, but it was far away from her rented house at Maseyisini. She claimed she was taken into a forest and by then she was convinced the police officers would kill her.
“I cried for mercy to no avail. I was pushed, kicked, slapped and shoved around while being threatened with death if I did not co-operate. They later tied me against a tree and told me to say my last prayers. I even wet myself due to fear as the officers took turns torturing me,” she said. She said among them was a female police officers who kicked her in her private parts and other sensitive parts of her body. She was also ‘showered’ with a bucket full of cold water, which made her shiver more and she felt like vomiting.
“After about six hours of serious torture the police realised that I did not know my husband’s whereabouts and then untied and drove me back to my house. On the way back, they continued with their threats, saying they would make sure that once they track down my husband, they would not hesitate to kill him. “Batsi sekufuneka umswane wakhe kuphela hhayi aphila,” she alleged, meaning the police said they were going to kill him straightaway, and no longer wanted him alive. “It was already past 5am when they dropped me at my house.
“ They never bothered themselves with the injuries I sustained and I was in terrible and unbearable pain. I suspect I recieved internal injuries and rib fractures,” she said.
...Police fail to assist her
with letter to see doctors
THE woman who was allegedly tortured by police last week said she could not be treated at the Nhlangano Health Centre after she could not be provided with a letter from the police.
She said Nhlangano police refused to fill up the form for the clearance letter and as a result, she could not get assistance at the Nhlangano Health Centre.
A police clearance letter is one of the requirements needed by health institutions before they can treat a person with suspicious injuries.
“As a result I was compelled to seek help from a private medical practitioner. I found myself incurring expenses that I had not budgeted for,” she said.
The woman said she had so far not managed to lay a case against the police officers and this was not because she was forgiving them, but because of fear.
“After the death threats, I don’t feel comfortable even going close to the police station as I might come across some of the police officers who showed me extreme cruelty.
“ I am still considering how best I can handle this matter so they can pay the prize for what they did to me. I am consulting vigorously but so far my in-laws and family are still weighing the options we have.
She said she was no longer comfortable talking to strangers and even visitors bring her so much fear as she thinks they may be the police coming for her again.
Police invite woman to come forward
POLICE Assistant PRO Inspector Khulani Mamba has advised the woman to come and make a formal complaint over the matter, so that the involved officers can be dealt with according to the law.
Inspector Mamba said the woman should not report the matter at the Nhlangano police as they are the ones who allegedly tortured her, but should come to the head office in Mbabane where she can feel safe and would be given all the attention she deserves.
“There is a department at the head office that deals with matters of police misconduct. No one will intimidate her or even make any threats,” said Inspector Mamba.
He said it would be only when the woman comes forward that the issue could be pursued, and should any officer be implicated, then necessary action would be taken.
“We can’t rely on hearsay or exaggeration but we are calling upon her to seek help from the head office. This is allowed when you feel police ill-treated you or handled any matter unprofessionally,” said Inspector Mamba.
...’We will wait for report’
Director of Health Services Dr Simon Zwane said they were still awaiting a report on what really happened so that they could ascertain if the death was avoidable or not.
He said every maternal death is looked at to see if was preventable and what measures should be taken.
“No woman should die while giving birth,” he stressed.
Dr Zwane explained that a breech birth by its very nature is not a normal birth, adding that however, health workers decide on whether to do a Caesarean section depending on what stage of labour the woman is in.
He said there is a certain stage where a caesarean section can not be performed.
“We will await a report from the hospital on the matter and review it to see what needs to be done,” he said.
Meanwhile *Portia continues to cry hoping to be breastfed and all she gets is milk formula.