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COPS PUSHED, BEAT ME UP - TEACHER

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MANZINI - Wild accusations continue to be thrown from all angles as unions try to prove that the alleged police brutality was indeed experienced during workers’ demonstrations.

In fact, Ncobile Simelane, a teacher at Masundvwini High School, whose leg was fractured during TUCOSWA’s protest action which was held in Manzini in September 2018, alleged that she was pushed from the back by police officers and assaulted with batons while groaning in pain on the pavement. TUCOSWA is the Trade Union Congress of Swaziland. The educator made this submission yesterday when the investigation committee, which is probing the alleged police brutality on protestors during demonstrations, conducted an inspection in loco in Manzini where the teacher was injured.

Bathroom

She submitted that it was around 1pm and the protest action was over when she decided to go to the bathroom at King Somhlolo Park with two of her colleagues. Thereafter, she said they spotted some police officers whom they knew and went to chat with them at the park. Out of the blue, she alleged that they heard some whistles from the Bhunu Mall direction and armed police officers who were standing near a vehicle from the Operational Support Service Unit (OSSU) by Manzini Post Office, ran towards the mall. “As some of them ran past the park, they were saying; ‘sesidziniwe ngulabantfu laba (we are tired of these people)’,” she submitted.

Leaving

Soon thereafter, she alleged the police officers whom they were talking to also ran towards the same direction and they walked towards the road with the aim of leaving town. However, she alleged that as they approached the road, they heard gunshot sounds from the Manzini Post Office direction and they were left with no choice but to run towards the Bhunu Mall direction. “As we ran, my colleagues outpaced me. As I continued to run for cover, police started assaulting me on the back using batons and I jumped to the pavement. As I run along the pavement, they pushed me and I fell to the ground,” the teacher alleged. She also submitted that while she was groaning in pain on the pavement as her leg got fractured, every police officer who ran past her, allegedly assaulted her on the body and thighs with batons.

According to the teacher, she was allegedly rescued by a senior officer who stopped and asked her why she was lying on the pavement and she told him that she was injured. She said the senior officer then called other officers and instructed them to assist her to get into an ambulance, which rushed her to the Raleigh Fitkin Memorial (RFM) Hospital. The teacher started delivering her testimony from King Somhlolo Park to the pavement which is opposite Nedbank where she was injured. After her testimony, the Chairman of investigation committee, Manzini Principal Magistrate David Khumalo, asked both parties if they had queries about Simelane’s submissions and both of them said they had nothing to question.

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