R2K calls for an end to police brutality

An R2K rally against police brutality in SA took place this Human Right's Day. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

HUMAN RIGHTS: An R2K rally against police brutality in SA earlier today. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Human Rights Day saw the Right to Know Campaign (R2K) hand over a memorandum calling for an end to police brutality in Joburg, earlier today.

The protest was held in an effort to express outrage at increasing police brutality and the growing attacks on the right to protest, according to R2K staff members.

“No one dies at a protest until the police arrive,” was just one of the slogans displayed on placards by protestors.

Cardboard coffins were lined up right outside the entrance to the Johannesburg Central Police Station, commemorating those who have died from police brutality during protests. Among those remembered were the 36 miners who were killed by police at Marikana in 2012.

Cardboard coffins lined the entrance to the Joburg Central Police Station. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Cardboard coffins lined the entrance to the Joburg Central Police Station. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

The station commander, Chester Spies, received and signed the memorandum from R2K staff members and responded by saying he was “very happy to see a peaceful, law-abiding protest” take place on such an important day in South African legacy.

In a statement issued by the organisation just over a week ago they said “the police killings of protestors around the country are a symptom of the growing attacks on the right to protest in South Africa, fuelled by the militarisation of the police and criminalisation of protest”.

Station Commander, Chester Spies signs the R2K memorandum. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Station Commander, Chester Spies signs the R2K memorandum. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

A number of other organisations and NGOs joined the protest, including the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), the Democratic Left Front (DLF) and Awethu.

“Protest is our only weapon. We will continue to protest because we know no other way,” were the parting words from R2K members.

The R2K campaign was launched in 2010, in response to the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) and has, over the years, broadened its scope to a range of related issues.

Update: Attacked Witsie in court

The 2nd year LLB female Witsie who spent the night in jail after reporting a crime, appeared in court on March 28. She has been charged with crimen injuria. Her case was moved to the April 10.

Oratile Godirilwe, was assaulted by a man she said she does not know at a Total garage in Braamfontein on February 25.  

The campus control officer called the police but instead they arrested her and she spent the night in jail.

Sydwell Chauke, a Wits Campus Control (CC) officer, said that the way the two police officers who responded to the call treated Godirilwe when they came was “shocking.”

According to warrant officer Mduduzi Zondo, Hillbrow police station spokesperson, Godirilwe was arrested because “she shouted and swore” at the police.

She was charged with crimen injuria which constitutes unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another.

While in custody Godirilwe said the police called her “the Witsie,” and a female officer at the station told her that she was “lucky” she had not been beaten up by the police.

Even though she had been assaulted Godirilwe received no medical attention.

“They said I was rude so I will not get to see a doctor,” said Godirilwe.

But Zondo said that she was not taken to see a doctor because she did not need medical treatment.

Godirilwe’s first court appearance was on the March 4 but it was moved to March 28 so further investigations could be made.

 

Original story: March 11, 2013

The case of a female Wits student who spent a night in jail after reporting an assault has been moved to March 28, 2013 after an appearance in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Oratile Godirilwe was arrested on February 25, 2013 and charged with crimen injuria which amounts to unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another.

According to Warrant Officer Mduduzi Zondo, Hillbrow police station spokesperson,Godirilwe was arrested because  “she shouted and swore” at the police.

The way the two police officers who responded to the call treated Godirilwe when they came was described by Sydwell Chauke, a Wits Campus Control (CC) officer, as “shocking.”

Even though the police had been called to help Godirilwe to open a case against the man who assaulted her she was the one who ended up in jail.

While in custody Godirilwe said the police called her “the Witsie,” and a female officer at the station told her that she was “lucky” she had not been beaten up by the police.

Even though she had been assaulted Godirilwe received no medical attention. “They said I was rude so I will not get to see a doctor,” said Godirilwe.

But Zondo said that she was not taken to see a doctor because she did not need medical treatment.

 

Zondo added that the two police officers who arrested Godirilwe might be testifying against her.

Witsie arrested after reporting assault

A FEMALE Wits student was allegedly assaulted on Monday night in Braamfontein but found herself in jail for a night after calling the police.

The treatment of the student, Oratile Godirilwe, 2nd year LLB,  by the police was “shocking”, said Wits Campus Control officer Sydwell Chauke.

“They treated her like a criminal, a murderer. What they did broke my heart,” said Chauke.

Godirilwe and her friend were at the Total garage on the corner of Jan Smuts avenue and De Korte street between 9pm and 10pm when a man started making advances on her.

“I told him no, leave me alone,” said Godirilwe.

“He started swearing at me, then grabbed me, pushed me to the ground and kicked me in the tummy a couple of times.”

The man then left in his vehicle.

Godirilwe’s friend was able to get the vehicle registration number of the man’s car. They to Campus Control (CC) on de Korte street, and Chauke called the police after which two male police officers responded.

Godirilwe said she explained to the police officers what had happened but one of them replied: “So, what do you want us to do?”

According to Chauke, the police officers did not try to help Godirilwe with her case.

One police officer walked away and got back into the police car. Godirilwe followed him to the vehicle and closed his car door in frustration, nipping his fingers.

“It was a mistake and I apologized,” she said.

Godirilwe admits to being angry and said that she swore “at the whole situation.”

The police officers called her rude. They said that in South African culture women do not speak in “such a way”.

Godirilwe was taken to Hillbrow police station where she was kept in custody from Monday night until Tuesday evening.  While there, a female police officer told her she was “lucky” she was not beaten by the police.

Godirilwe said the police taunted her, calling her “the Witsie.”

Wits CC officer Maxwell Nkuna went to the police station after Godirilwe was taken. But she said he was not helpful because he only got the police’s side of the story.

Godirilwe said she referred to Nkuna as uncle: “but he said ‘don’t say that. I won’t be related to something like you.’”

Nkuna could not be reached for comment.

Godirilwe was told by police that the charge against her was for assaulting a police officer due to her slamming his fingers in the car door.

However, Hillbrow police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Mduduzi Zondo, said Godirilwe was charged with crimen injuria—unlawfully, intentionally and seriously impairing the dignity of another.

“When the police came she shouted at them and insulted them,” he said.

Godirilwe said she was injured by the man who attacked her, showing Vuvuzela her swollen and bruised leg, but was not taken to a doctor.

“They said I am rude so I will not get to see a doctor,” she said.

However, Zondo said she was not taken to a doctor because she did not need medical treatment.

Godirilwe said she never got to open a case against the man who assaulted her.

“I have a case against me now.  I do not have the energy to open a case against someone else.”