We report on true stories of abuse by the South African Police “Service”. Unedited. Published on request and with permission. 

If you would like us to tell your story (anonymously if you wish) please contact our #StopTheCops Dagga Arrest Helpline.

Police stations involved: Boksburg

Events as told by the victim: Hello before I start I want to say I have absolutely zero ill will towards any of the members of the SAPS, and that I’m sure there are many reasons why someone would grow up wishing to become a police officer, but I don’t think there is a single person who does it because they think it’s fun or a good use of their time and energy to go around and arrest people for nothing when their efforts could focused on more important things. I had been on Nuzak for about 3 months and then I got prescribed some Azor and Urbanol due some side effects I was experiencing I took one Azor on Wednesday 25/09/19 then another on Thursday, and was planning on starting the Urbanol after the weekend.

On Saturday Morning my mom starts explaining to me all the crazy side effects of this medication, and it was also I just hated what the Azor did to me, it made me feel like some drunk zombie. So I ended up deciding to not take any more but since I was going to H20 that day I figured I should at least smoke some weed so i can still at least relax enough to still enjoy myself.

12:15pm on 28/09/19 the doors to H20 open. I go through security and ‘search me’ by squeezing the bottom of my bag twice. I go roll and smoke my first joint then I start dancing fora bit, I go roll another and begin smoking again, as I’m smoking I see maybe 10 cops and a number of the H20 “controls” walking around looking for me. So I nip my joint and walk up to them and greet them, they begin going through my stuff then they realise they are kind of exposing me here, so I’m escorted out of H20 and everyone is looking at me being escorted out by like 10+ cops like I’m a terrorist.

They then talk to me for 2 hours about how bad weed is and they ask me things like “why are you doing this?”, “Do you know how bad this is for you?” I explain to them I just smoke it so I can calm down a bit, so I feel like I can fit in with everyone and enjoy myself. Then they ask me why I don’t care about my future. So they take weed, my grinder that actually was really important to me, and my brand new RAW connoisseur papers which costed me like R25. I actually insisted they take my tobacco, since they are so concerned for my future but they let me keep it. Then they tell me ok we gonna give you a warning, you can go back to the party but we are gonna be watching you like a hawk the whole night and if we see you do anything or bother anyone we are gonna kick you out and ban you for life from H20.

I went to into H20 and I go inside where they were doing tattoos (it was indoors and dark so no one could see me) to take off my shirt/glasses/hat off because I didn’t want anyone to recognise me. I had an amazing time until 9PM . When I said to myself, na this wasn’t right. I walked out of H20 and went to the police container and I went to the guy there and said “hello earlier today. They took my things, I wanna go home now, can I have everything back?” He told me to scram then I said “no you don’t understand, you took my Zol. You took my dagga. I want it back.”

Eventually I get placed/detained in the police trailer/container thing, they search me but they already took everyone earlier so they didn’t find anything. In there with me is another man accused of dagga possession and this guy they are busy interrogating about stolen cellphones, but this poor guy didn’t even speak english so he didn’t even understand what was going on from what I could see. I try to talk with the officers for a while but they just accuse me of being on E or crystal so I’m just like whatever and go to sleep.

After 2-3 hours the the trailer gets too full with more people they caught. So now they take us to the station, while they are processing us they bring in this old man that was accused of drunk driving. After I remove my belt/shoelaces I sign for my possessions. Then when we were moved to the main meeting room I call the Dagga Couple helpline and they send me the SOS, I read it and try to follow the instructions as best as I can. I sign my right to be arrested and then they take me to the cell.

There were about 10 people in the cell with me and we spent the whole night just talking and more importantly listening to each other about how pointless this whole situation was, it felt like not a single one of us actually deserved to be in here. But we ended up making the most of it by telling jokes, listening and talking to each other the whole night. Around 9am on Sunday they give use breakfast and tea, then about 30minutes later a lawyer comes to the cell and I ask him to help me. Then later the door opens again and I see my Mom through a grid.

Couple hours go by and eventually there is a detectiver available to help me. The detective asks me some questions while he is filling out the information, such as my address, hair colour, height, any tattoo’s etc. Then i have to sign some things, I had forgotten what the SOS said about which things I have to sign, so I wait for my lawyer to come just to make sure its all OK. After about 30 minutes of paperwork the detective takes me for fingerprints and does my mugshots, I go sign to get my possessions back and I’m a free man again, but I have to go to court on Monday. My Mom had to paid R3500 to the lawyer, and R500 bail. I get home shower and take my 3rd Azor pill since I wanted to try to go to sleep before 4am as I had to still go to court at 11am.

Monday morning I get up and my Mom and I do the 1 hour driver to Boksburg magistrate court. I get to court and was very happy to see some of the friends I made in that cell were at the court and they seemed to be doing OK. We chill outside and smoke until about 11am then we go inside the court and wait on the benches for our names to be called. About 2 hours of sitting there my lawyer comes and tells me I can go home, he shows me how they wrote my name on this list that is titled “not on roll”? Apparently this means the case is thrown out. I walk out with my lawyer, my mom and I give him a big hug and we go back to home.

Now imagine this happening on a daily basis all around the country. If anyone thinks that this is fair for me and my mom, or a good use of the police and courts resources then I don’t have anything to say to you.

This article originally appeared on fieldsofgreenforall.co.za and was published with permission.

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