John Vorster Square – renamed Johannesburg Central police station in 1997, was a notorious site of torture, abuse, an interrogation by the apartheid police security branch.

At least eight known political detainees were killed by the security branch from the 70s to 1990 in that blue colouredbuilding.

These harrowing tales of torture and death from the 10-storey building came flooding back into the mind of a Soweto man Mongezi Dandala when he was allegedly assaulted by the station commissioner Brigadier IrvanPuremal and several of his officers in June last year.


The brigadier and co. had allegedly accused Dandala of impersonating a police officer.

Dandala, on the other hand, says he had gone to the police station to report a harrowing” incident he had witnessed in a Joburg building when he was allegedly pummeled.

Fresh from his beatings he was transported at the back of a police van some 30 kilometres away to the Sun City prison, where he was kept for six days before making a court appearance.

Correctional services spokesman Logan Maistry confirmed that Dandala was indeed held at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre A for the days mentioned.

Maistry said Dandala did report the injury that he allegedly sustained whilst in police custody.

“He consulted the nurses and a medical report was completed,’ said Maistry in a statement.

Dandala was released on a R1 500 bail by a Johannesburg magistrate and his case of impersonating a police officer postponed to next week on May 17.

But what is foremost on Dandala’s mind is the seeming delay of his reported case of assault against the station commissioner.

The case is still to be heard almost a year since Dandala it was reported.

Gauteng police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini has been mum when asked about the alleged assault on Dandala.

More than a month has lapsed since Abaphenyi sent him our media inquiry and several repeated reminders.

Col Dlamini is still to even offer courtesy of acknowledgement of receipt of our correspondence.

The last Abaphenyi heard from the Gauteng SAPS was via a Whatsapp message from Dlamini’s colleague W0 Kay Makhubela who said Dlamini was busy formulating a response to our inquiry.

The lack of response from the police and the seeming delay in Dandala’s case against the cops has only heightened Dandala’s fears for his life and his suspicions that the police were protecting their own at his expense.

Abaphenyi had asked Col Dlamini if there’s been any internal investigation into Dandala’s assault claims and what steps, if any, has the SAPS taken against Brigadier Puremal.

We had also Col Dlamini why was Dandala kept for six days in a prison cell before making a court appearance.

Asked for an update on the case NPA Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Louw told Abaphenyi that Dandala’sdocket had been sent for verification.

 Dandala had told Abaphenyi that he had also reported his assault case with the Independent Police Directorate, but inquiries sent to their spokesperson Mavela Dlamini went unanswered.

Dandala’s ordeal comes fresh after a civil claim by family of first detainee to die in John Vorster Square Ahmed Timol, a 30-year-old teacher on October 27 1971.

Police had claimed Timol had plunged to his death from the 10th floor five days after his arrest.

The police had claimed that he had committed suicide and an official inquest into his death in 1972 backed up this claim, despite evidence that he had been subjected to severe torture before his death.

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