"The more things change ,the more they stay the same",those were the thoughts I had as I was been driven down a dirt road at 9pm in the evening ,handcuffed to a collegue in a back of a police van with 6 armed squad cars following us.We finaly stop by the lodge we were booked at,to my relief ,cause I thought we would end up in some open field aka Lumumba style, cause when I raised issues about righta and proceducers that are supposed to be followed i was told that "this is Venda" in other words they do things differently this side.We were marched out of the police van ,two by two.Handcuffs eating into our skins , we walked around the lodge now swerming with police officers.The poor manager was shocked to see us in handcuffs, all the other visitors were peeping through the windows ,probably thinking the 3 Gauteng guys in all stars are criminals,ja who else drives a quantum that big.
The story all begins on Wednesday afternoon, It was officially our second day in Venda,UniVenda had invited us over for a a week long career expo. When we were done the guys; Thabo and Itumelang (the dudes I came with from Jo'burg) and one of the organiser T2 thought it would be cool to get drinks and get a cool place to chill.As we are buying drinks my self and Thabo ,snap away at life in Thohoyandou with our cameras,we are enjoying doing the whole touristy thing and playing our load music in the quantum.As we are headed to Univen to pick up the rest of the guys, thats when a police car flags us down.
So we stop, within a second there's four other squad cars, guys with R - 5's and Ak 47 pointing at the taxi, the police are demands we get out of the taxi speaking to us in Venda fortuneatly T2 was there to translate for us. We get searched in the middle of the street,as they call in our cab and try to find out its true registration.Within no time they have it, as they let us go,two other squad cars come in on the scene and demand that we go to the police station.What for? they won't explain.The squad cars create a perimetar around the taxi as they "escort" us to the police station.I take a picture of the incident ,which makes them all angry and the stop the convoy ,just to "confiscate" my camera.
To make a long story short for the next four hours ,we are detained by the police ,who do not explain why are we being detained,they refuse us to use the toilet,telling us we can use 2l coke bottles to piss in infront of them,we are not allowed to make or recieve phone calls from loved ones and collegues. Our quantum is searched by all sorts of different units.Eventually we are handcuffed and thrown into the back of the squad car with no explanation of where are we being taken,only to find out that their taking us to our lodge,so that they can isnspect our rooms and luggage.
When everything is said and done , they let us go and say we have to come back the following day for a fine because they found that our disk had expired. We come the following day to get the fine,we go through the same attitude, they insist on rechecking the car to see if it's truely owned by the company then we are sent to the traffic department to get our ticket.On our last day ,the traffic department insist on rechecking the registration,engine number and so forth once again and they want proof of payment from the Office in JHb.Once they have that they insist on us driving to Polokwane via police escort where the quantum would be rechecked again at their head office.Nevermind we still have a six hour trip back to joburg to take but they are the police what you do,so we go to Polokwane,which is about two hours away from Thohoyandou.We get there, they check the quantum and guess what,there was nothing wrong with it.
Now some people might say "hey our police are very thorough" but if you were on the ground and had people insisting to speak to you in Venda even if they know you can't understand the language,detain you without cause or an explanation for why you are detained or do whatever they can to make you feel like uncomfortable,you start to see that our polic force is a relic of the bad old years. Civilians are treated as criminals and the arrogance that go with carrying a badge and a gun is really out of control.In this week alone I have heard more shocking stories about police brutality and abuse of authority ,it makes me wonder will we ever have a truely transformed police service that does it job and also keeps to the rules of conduct and procedures that they are governed by? i doubt it and it's not just a Venda issue,it's a Police Force issue and with the recent militarisation of the police,i don't see it getting any better.