Watch: Two sisters and friends allegedly assaulted by police

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Zhané and Shimoné Plaatjies, the two sisters who were alledgedly attacked by officials

What started out as a normal day of shopping for two sisters on Sunday 6 September 2020, turned into a nightmare after they were allegedly assaulted by both security officers and police officers at a local mall.

A video circulated on social media where a young man, being their friend, can be seen being slapped several times by a police officer.

Zhané Plaatjies, one of the sisters, told Bloemfontein Courant they got into a quarrel about a parking space with a lady who, according to them, was in the wrong at the mall. After they had parked, thinking that the situation had been sorted out, the lady informed the security guards at the mall.

Link to video: 08e75633-bde7-45fb-98af-f3d4a2961a9d

She added that after a lengthy argument, the security guards escorted them to the control room after they had called her father, boyfriend and her boyfriend’s friend to inform them about the situation.

According to Plaatjies the security guards called the police after the guards claimed they were attacked by her boyfriend.

The plot thickened after a police officer, as seen in the video, slapped her innocent friend and she and her sister were assaulted in the background.

She said she managed to record a video but her phone was taken away.

“The police officer came outside, pushed the gate open, and started attacking me and my sister. He pushed me against the gate and the wall, he twisted our arms and then took my purse. He took my sister’s phone from in between her thighs, he gave it to the other security guard. He slapped my sister and threw her against the wall. She bumped her head, he threw her against the wall again and slapped her again,” Plaatjies added.

“The security lady then saw my phone and told him that I had a phone. She held both my hands as the police officer reached into my pants to remove my phone. The moment my cellphone got taken out of my pants by a man, without my permission, a piece of my dignity was stripped. The moment when he slapped my sister and threw her against the wall, I saw a different kind of rage that makes gender-based violence difficult to look away from,” she said.

Police spokesperson, Thandi Mbambo, said according to info given, the ladies almost caused an accident with someone as they were reversing outside parking space, which led to a conflict between parties. The security tried to intervene and the ladies allegedly turned on him, swearing. They were called to the control room and the matter was resolved, only for the ladies to return later with male friends attempting to attack the security officer. That’s when the police were called. The Provincial Commissioner has nevertheless instructed the Station Commander to continue with internal investigation so as to look into the conduct of the member involved.

“However, the complainants are advised to visit the station and lodge a formal complaint which will be investigated both internally and criminally,” Mbambo added.

“My sister and I went to the Emergency Room at Mediclinic Bloemfontein on Monday for assessments. We both have visible bruises and are both scheduled for counselling. My boyfriend and his friend are both still traumatised and don’t speak about what had happened behind the closed door,” Plaatjies added.

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za