By Kaylynn Palm
Imagine being hit and kicked by an officer of the law – the very person whose duty is to protect you as a South African citizen.
That happened to 18-year-old Le-Keisha Visser in Klapmuts in the Western Cape. A Klapmuts policeman allegedly assaulted her on 1 January 2023.
On the day Le-Keisha went to the police station to file a complaint against her nephew, who hit her in the face. Her 15-year-old friend accompanied her. After not being assisted, they went outside, and a stone was thrown against the window of a police vehicle, allegedly by the friend. The teenagers made their way home in disappointment.
Visser’s aunt, Abigail Pietersen, said as the two were walking down the road, a police van pulled up behind them, and two officers got out of the vehicle to arrest the girls for the stoning incident. She alleges that a police officer who arrested Le-Keisha touched her breasts, smacked her, and threw her in the police van.
“He then hit and pushed them into the police van. So my mother, aunt, uncle, neighbours, and I ran to them and asked the officer why he hit and pushed her into the van,” she said.
Family members enquired if they could get into the police van because the girls were underage, but the request was declined, and they walked to the police station.
Pietersen added that when the police vehicle left with the girls, she ran after the police van. She said at some point, the van stopped, and from a distance, she saw Le-Keisha outside being assaulted by the officer.
“While running, I shouted: ‘Hey, why are you kicking her?’ He stopped, picked Le-Keisha up from the ground, and brought her to me. I told him, ‘Look at what you did to Le-Keisha’. He told me he was in the back of the van and that the two girls had attacked him. I told him he was lying and saw what he had done myself. After that, the officer and I walked back to the police station,” she said.
At the police station, they put the teenagers in a cell. “The two of them were in a state. An officer even recorded her slapping him, but she did so after he attacked her. She then stayed the night in the cell,” she said.
After that, a case was made against the teenager; however, the case was withdrawn. Nevertheless, Le-Keisha’s face was left swollen that night with visible bruises.
The family approached IPID regarding the attack and is still awaiting feedback.
Action Society is working on the case and will be assisting Le-Keisha.