Family of Ulundi taxi driver allegedly killed by police demands justice

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Family members of a 31-year-old Ulundi taxi driver who was allegedly killed by police during a search for illegal firearms say they want justice. Lindani Dludla’s death last week sparked community protests that shut down several roads into the town on Monday.

People posted messages on social media threatening to burn down the local police station. It is alleged that Dludla died in the hospital after the alleged police beating that took place at his girlfriend’s house.

The community of Embilane area in Ulundi in northern KwaZulu-Natal say they want Dludla’s killers to rot in jail. They met at a local school to plan a way forward and to secure justice.

Painful death

Dludla’s grandmother, S’bongile Dludla, says his death is painful as he was the breadwinner and now there is no one left to support the family.

His family claims he was beaten up and taken away by police and that when he returned he was bleeding severely. He died the next day in the hospital.

“They tightened his hand and beat him up. His girlfriend was told to go to another room and the girlfriend heard the noise as they were beating him up. He was taken to the local clinic but they referred him to the hospital as he was over-bleeding, and he couldn’t even talk to his mother.”

She says the family wants answers.

“We want to know who killed Lindani and why he was brutally killed like this. Nobody will support his children and we are disappointed as a family as we don’t know what we are going to do.”

Another resident allegedly assaulted by police

Mandlenkosi Khanyile is another resident who was also allegedly assaulted by police, also looking for illegal firearms. He says while police did find a gun at his home, he was able to produce its license.

“The police arrived while I was sleeping. I was awoken by police beating me on my face. At first, I thought it was my wife. I asked what she was doing. I realised it was police also pointing guns at me. They searched our bedroom and found a gun under my pillow. They said it was the gun they were looking for and I told them that was not true because that was my licensed gun. They demanded its papers and I showed them, then they asked me to with them. My son asked why they wanted to take me. Another thing … they were using unmarked police cars.”

Investigation

Spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, Ndileka Cola, has confirmed that the incident is being investigated.

“The IPID is investigating the death as a result of police action after an incident that occurred in KZN as it is alleged that the police were acting on information that the deceased was in possession of unlicensed firearm.”

Community meeting

The community meeting was disrupted following claims by Dludla’s mother that the hospital report indicated that her son had died of natural causes.

This angered the large group with some threatening to go back to the streets to protest: 

“We are angry and we have heard that the report says the deceased died through sickness and this is pure lies. We will go back to the streets,” says local resident, Nqaba Mthenjana.

Police remain in the area to monitor the situation.

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