Man claims vigilantes beat him for false crime

JON HOUZET
AN illiterate young handyman from Bathurst has laid charges against Anti Crime volunteers for allegedly brutally assaulting him after falsely accusing him of stealing a DVD player.
 
Ntsikelelo Nciya, 20, has also fingered a MultiSecurity officer for allegedly providing transport for the vigilantes and letting them use her handcuffs to tie him to a tree at the Bathurst Showgrounds where he said he was assaulted for hours.
 
ASSAULTED: Ntsikelelo Nciya of Bathurst shows injuries to his ankle and torso he claims were inflicted by members of Anti-Crime who tasered him and beat him
Picture: JON HOUZET
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed police were investigating a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm after Nciya made a complaint, accompanied by a medical examiner’s report detailing his injuries.
 
Nciya sustained cuts to his wrists and ankles where he said he was handcuffed, and multiple tiny lacerations on his body from allegedly being tasered. He was also hit in the face. TotT has a copy of the medical examiner’s report.
 
Nciya’s employer, Mike Smith of Bathurst, said he was horrified when he saw what had happened to the young man who “has never stolen anything from me in the four years he has worked for me”.
Smith brought Nciya to TotT to tell his story.
 
Nciya said he was at home in Nolukhanyo township last Friday when he heard a knock at the door at about 2pm.
 
“I answered it and it was Anti-Crime (civilians). There were more than five guys. I recognised most of them,” said Nciya. “There was also a white woman in a black uniform.”
 
He said the men told him there had been a burglary and a DVD player had been stolen. Another resident in the township had tipped them off that Nciya had a DVD player. They demanded to see it.
 
He showed it to them and they accused him of stealing it.
 
“I’m saying no, it’s my DVD – I bought myself. They wanted to see the box but I left it at my employer’s house so that all the paperwork, like the warranty, is kept safe,” said Nciya.
 
“They didn’t believe me. At about 2.30pm they piled me into the back of a silver bakkie which said MultiSecurity on it. The white lady was driving.
 
“They took me to the showgrounds, handcuffed me to a tree with my hands behind my back. The MultiSecurity lady had the key for the handcuffs.
 
“They started beating me with sticks and put a bag over my head. They sprayed (pepper spray) into the bag. It was making me pass out.”
 
Nciya said one of the Anti-Crime men had a taser and used it on him numerous times. He said he screamed and cried.
 
This lasted a few hours, until they agreed to take him to Smith’s house to verify his claim that the DVD box and warranty were there. But Smith was not home so they called him on Nciya’s phone.
 
“I was in Kenton when I got the call,” said Smith. “The woman who spoke to me mentioned a container so I thought she was talking about a container in my yard. I said if you’ve caught him (Nciya) stealing from my container then arrest him.
 
“I didn’t know what the full story was. It turned out later she was talking about the box for the DVD. It was definitely a white woman who called me, but English was not her first language.”
 
The conversation was confusing and Smith said the woman hung up.
 
Nciya said after this they took him back to the showgrounds and assaulted him again, only releasing him at about 8pm.
 
Smith said it was only over the following two days he pieced the story together, after a battered and bruised Nciya came to see him.
 
Nciya asked for the warranty and went to report the incident at the Bathurst police station. They told him he needed to have a medical examiner fill in a J88 form.
 
On Monday Smith took him to the Port Alfred Hospital, and then to the police station.
 
He said he also went to see MultiSecurity co-owner Mike Millard, but he was not in, so he spoke to his personal assistant. After phoning around, she denied MultiSecurity was involved.
 
TotT asked Millard’s son and co-owner Clinton to respond to the allegations. He admitted they cooperated with Anti-Crime and had provided transport to members of Anti-Crime on the day of the incident, but Anti-Crime had acted alone in arresting several suspects.
 
“The allegations that we were involved with the alleged arrest, questioning and assault of the suspects are completely devoid of truth,” said Millard.

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