Mr Robert Mzikayise Fisa, hereinafter referred to as the plaintiff (Afrikaans: “eiser”), claimed damages from the Minister of Police, hereinafter referred to as the defendant (Afrikaans: “verweerder”), before the High Court in East London, in the Eastern Cape Province (“the trial court”), arising from his alleged unlawful arrest, detention and assault by members of the SAPS.
During the trial, two SAPS members namely Const Asanda Nyameka and Const Professor Mgunuza, who were involved in the incident concerned, were called to testify on behalf of the defendant.
In paragraph  of its judgment, the trial court, inter alia, remarked that “the defendant’s version is not only improbable [Afrikaans: ‘onwaarskynlik’], but also patently false”.
On the other hand, the trial court in para  of its judgment remarked that “the plaintiff was a good and credible witness”, and that another witness, called on behalf of the plaintiff, was “a very impressive witness”.
Accordingly, the accepted version of what happened is that the plaintiff was employed as a barber at the Uhuru Hair Salon at Gilwell taxi rank in East London. This salon was operated from a container. On 5 January 2012, between 10:00 and 11:00, four SAPS members arrived at the salon whereupon they searched it. The police officials, however, found no contraband (Afrikaans: “smokkelware”).
The plaintiff was subsequently able to identify two of the four police officials, namely Const Asanda Nyameka and Const Professor Mgunuza.
After the search, the police officials ordered the plaintiff to accompany them to their offices and, later on, to Duncan Village Police Station. Here the plaintiff was taken into a room, made to stand on a chair which had been placed on a table, and after his arms were placed behind him and over a wooden beam, his wrists were fastened to burglar bars with a piece of wire. They then removed the chair, thereby leaving him suspended from the beam which passed between his arms and torso. His body was stabilised by the wire.
He was left in that position for a few hours while he was being questioned about dagga and mocked by the police officials. They eventually untied him from the beam and instructed him not to tell anybody about what had happened to him. They returned him to the taxi rank at approximately 16:00.
Following upon this encounter, the plaintiff went to the Frere Hospital where a doctor examined and treated him. The following day, 6 January 2012, the plaintiff consulted a private doctor and thereafter he went to Duncan Village Police Station where he laid a criminal charge of assault against the SAPS members concerned.