For the Sondlo family, an encounter with the police has been a “bitter nightmare” they have not been able to wake from.
This is after the family had called police to assist after a neighbour spotted an intruder at their door in the early hours of Saturday morning.
“My four sons left the house in pursuit of the man. We were behind them as we tried to organise a car and call the police,” said Nobuhle Sondlo.
“As we left our complex, I met police officers whom I informed about what happened and the direction the man had gone.”
Sondlo said she and her husband heard gun shots while they were driving around looking for their sons and the intruder.
“We heard about three gun shots which were coming from Robinson Road. We drove towards where we heard the shots and saw a number of vehicles.”
She said when they arrived they found police members with their sons in their custody.
“Two of them were on the ground with handcuffs. My youngest son was crying and seemingly writhing in pain.
“When I asked them why they had ‘arrested’ my children they refused to answer saying I must keep quiet,” relayed the mother.
Sondlo said she tried to explain that she had called the police and that her sons had left the house trying to apprehend the invader.
“Another officer said they were not going to let them go and that he will not listen to me. I asked why they were not in uniform and asked them to produce identification. They refused to tell us anything.”
She said during the confrontation one of the officers pulled out a gun and pointed it to her husband whom they had also tried to arrest but had refused.
“One smelt like alcohol. I told them if they insisted on arresting my sons they must say why. One of the officers swore at me and said we will stay here till the morning,” she said.
According to the mother the family was finally taken to the station but when they arrived the police removed the cuffs from the two boys and told them to go home.
“The officer who was in charge of the station that night also refused to help saying he would only talk to the officers who had brought us in. I asked my husband to take our youngest son to hospital. He was still wincing in pain.”
The family was told by a doctor at the hospital that their son had incurred genital injuries and he needed surgery.
Phelibongo Sondlo, the boys’ father, said the encounter was an ordeal for his family.
“We still have not signed the form as we want expert opinion on his condition. The reality is that my son may never have children and that haunts me.
“He is frightened at the sight of any officer. It is hard for me to even concentrate at work. This is a deep pain for my family. We need to organise a psychologist for him because he is still carrying the trauma.”
Captain Jackson Manatha, provincial police spokesperson, said the case was to be directed to Ipid for investigation.