A Parow man has pressed charges against four policemen he says stole his rent money and three watches while searching his home without a warrant.
He locked the officers inside his house after he noticed money had gone missing and they were only released after other officers were called to the scene to intervene
Conrad Mukkoko, 25, who runs a unisex hair salon in Mowbray, says the officers who searched his Carstens Street home on Friday August 12, were from outside the area – Wynberg and Philippi East precincts. His wife, Najunisha, took several pictures of the incident on her cellphone and one of the images is of a Philippi East police van.
Mr Mukkoko said the trouble started when two policemen asked to search him as he returned from buying airtime across the road, shortly before 11am. He said he had agreed to the search and all the officers found were his house keys. They had then asked to search his house without a warrant.
Confident he had nothing to hide, Mr Mukkoko agreed and opened the security gate for the officers, a sergeant and a constable. Two other officers waited outside next to two police vans.
“When we got into the house, I was talking to the sergeant, and the constable immediately started searching my room. While searching, the sergeant asked me if I have anything illegal to declare in the house and I said no, because I didn’t,” said Mr Mukkoko.
When he walked into the room, he noticed the constable replacing the mattress on the base of the bed before walking out.
Mr Mukkoko said this had made him nervous, because he had earlier hidden his wallet with R4 300 in rent money under the mattress. When he checked the hiding place, he found the money was gone.
Mr Mukkoko said he had confronted the sergeant and demanded his money back, but the sergeant had said nothing, while the constable had picked up a bar stool in the lounge and threatened to throw it at him.
“I told him I don’t care if you want to hurt me or kill me. I want my money back,” said Mr Mukkoko.
Then the other officers had come inside, one was wearing overalls with a police badge.
“The one with the overall was very aggressive. He told me, ‘You foreigners come in this country and catch on k**”. Those were his exact words. He also took two packets of dagga out of his pocket, and told me if I am rude he will pin the dagga on me,” said Mr Mukkoko.
The officer in the overalls had then gone with the constable back into Mr Mukkoko’s bedroom.
When they re-emerged, the officer in overalls left the house.
Mr Mukkoko locked himself in the house with the remaining three officers and gave the keys to his one neighbour through the gate, and then asked another neighbour to call the Parow police.
He also called his brother, who lives around the corner and who arrived to find a big argument happening behind the gate.
Mr Mukkoko claimed that when the officers had seen things “getting out of control” the constable threw money onto the floor.
“I picked up the money and counted it, and there was only R3 300. There was R1 000 short. I told the sergeant to please ask the constable to return my money then I won’t make a case,” said Mr Mukkoko.
He said Parow police had then arrived on the scene and he unlocked the gate.
Mr Mukkoko said he had asked a Parow police sergeant to search the constable, but she told him she was not allowed to do so.
“I then told her that I will the go to the police station to make a case against the officers. But I told her before I go, I need ensure all my valuables are in my house,” said Mr Mukkoko.
It was then, he claimed, that he had found three of the four watches he’d left in a jacket in his bedroom missing.
Roger Cannon, the chairman of the Parow community police forum said he wasn’t aware of the incident.
The SAPS provincial media officer had not responded to our questions by the time this edition went to print.
Parow police station commander Colonel Gert Nel said the case was being investigated and he stressed that Parow officers were not the subject of the theft accusations.
Colonel Nel said police officers were permitted to raid outside their precincts as long as they submitted a report to the police station in the area to be raided.
He confirmed that this procedure had been followed by the Wynberg and Philippi East officers.