- Eunice Matshaka and Cynthia Morwanqana have successfully sued Police Minister Bheki Cele for unlawful arrest
- The women were accused of being robbers by another woman while they were on the way to the Eastern Cape
- The woman claimed that Matshaka and Morwanqana matched the description of the women who robbed her
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JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Police Bheki Cele has been handed down an order by the Gauteng High Court sitting in Johannesburg to pay two women who were unlawfully arrested close to R600 000.
Eunice Matshaka and Cynthia Morwanqana were granted more than R200 000 each in damages for being wrongfully accused of being robbers while they were heading to the Eastern Cape.
It was revealed during court proceedings that the women did not even know each other and had never met. They just so happened to have been travelling on the same bus that departed from Park Station in Johannesburg, according to News24.
However, while the women were being friendly with one another just before boarding the bus, another woman called the police officers at the station and claimed that Matshaka and Morwanqana matched the description of the people who had robbed her in January 2014.
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The police then decided to ensure that Matshaka and Morwanqana did not know each other by making them call each other's phones. Their numbers were not saved as contacts and led the police to believe that they did not in fact know each other.
However, the robbery victim, who was convinced that these were the assailants, called her husband, who then contacted the Wierdabrug police station, where she had laid the old robbery charge. While on the bus, Matshaka and Morwanqana were arrested and then kept in police custody for a number of days.
Cele acknowledged that the women were detained without a warrant but he insisted that no illegal action had been taken. Cele, on the other hand, failed to show that there was any basis to arrest Matshaka and Morwanqana, according to the court.
This is not the first time the police have been sued for legally arresting citizens. In August 2021, the police department was ordered to pay two men R2.7 million each for an unlawful arrest by the Constitutional Court, according to IOL.
The department was also ordered to pay them R85 000 for loss of income due to the injuries they sustained during the brutal arrest.
R5m for ‘unlawful arrest’: ANC member wants Justice from Cele and Sitole
Briefly News previously reported that ANC member Sizwe Nyambi has accused Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole of unlawful arrest.
He is demanding that he be awarded R5 million in compensation and has given a deadline of 30 days, according to News24. Nyambi was taken into custody on Sunday while he was in the process of travelling to Durban from Johannesburg to support former president Jacob Zuma, according to The South African.
He is a staunch Zuma supporter. Nyambi's legal team has revealed that he was charged with "incitement to commit public violence". His legal team argue that he had not committed a crime at the crime of his arrest and accused the police of acting with malice.