- Msongelwa V Minister of Police (112/2012)  ZAECMHC 10 (17 March 2020) (EMC)
The plaintiff (Afrikaans: “eiser”), Mr Nkululeko Msongelwa, was arrested on 7 August 2011 at a tavern in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, where he and his friends were enjoying themselves.
When members of the SAPS arrived at the tavern, they ordered those present to face the wall with their hands up. The people were body-searched and he (Msongelwa) was told that he was under arrest, but he was not informed about the reason for the arrest. Msongelwa resisted and a struggle ensued. In the process the police shot him in his ankle. Thereafter, Msongelwa was handcuffed and thrown in the back of a police van. Msongelwa sustained a fractured ankle and was hospitalised under police guard from 7 to 19 August 2011. After this he appeared in court on several occasions where the matter was always “remanded in custody”.
On 12 January 2012, after having been incarcerated for 158 days, the case against him was withdrawn. Obviously not impressed with this treatment, Msongelwa instituted civil action against the Minister of Police before the High Court in Mthatha. He claimed damages (Afrikaans: “skadevergoeding”) for unlawful assault (claim A), as well as unlawful arrest and detention (claim B).
On 7 February 2020, the court made an order, by agreement of the parties, that the Minister of Police pay Msongelwa the sum of R2.5 million with costs in respect of claim A (assault). The merits of claim B (arrest and detention) were conceded by the Minister. What remained to be determined was the quantum (amount) thereof.