SECURITY guard Vuyani Tyobeka claims the police unlawfully arrested him after his shift.
The 50-year-old man from Bhongweni kasi in Cookhouse said he’d rather go to court than pay a R2 000 fine after being bust for contravening the Disaster Management Act.
He told Daily Sun: “On 8 April after I finished my day shift at 6pm, I changed my uniform and put on my civilian clothes then drove back home.
“On that day my wife and kids were not at home. I passed by her parents’ home to fetch my house keys.
“But after I left her home the cops, who were driving behind me, flashed their lights and I stopped. They I asked me where I was going. I told them I was coming from work and I had passed by my wife’s home to fetch my house keys from her. They told me I had broken lockdown rules.”
Vuyani said he asked the cops to call his employer to confirm he’d been to work.
“But they didn’t listen. Instead, they forced me to leave my car at my house. They said I will explain myself to the magistrate if I don’t want to pay the fine.
“They put me in the back of the police van with three other men and a woman. As we got closer to the police station, they asked the woman to come and sit in front with them,” he said.
Vuyano said cops had also put his life in danger.
“The back of that van is too small. There was no social distancing between us. I could have been infected with Covid-19.
“I’m expected to pay the fine before 4 June or appear in court on 1 July. I will tell the magistrate that I’m not guilty. They should call my employer to confirm I was on duty that day,” he said.
National police spokesman Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said: “It’s imperative to note that the allegations that the suspect was arrested unlawfully on his way back home after a day shift from a security company where he works are untrue. “According to the information at our disposal, the suspect was arrested for contravening the Disaster Management Act 57/2002 Reg 11b (1)(i). When he was driving with his wife and kids in the car, he claimed he went to fetch them from his wife’s place of residence.
“He further acknowledged he’s aware of lockdown rules, but wanted his family to sleep at his place of residence. His wife and kids didn’t wear masks and he did not consider social distancing in the vehicle.
“He also couldn’t produce a permit to prove he was performing essential services.”
Naidoo said Vuyani was notified he was under arrest and the police drove with him to ensure his wife and kids arrived home safely and that he parked his vehicle in his yard before they took him to the police station.
He said the cops should also maintain social distancing when arresting suspects and putting them in police vans.
“Yes, social distancing applies to everyone. I will have to check because I never really paid attention to how many people are usually carried in these vehicles.”