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Special Report Transcript Episode 80, Section 5, Time 32:55
I did report to Dr Lang, as one following dutiful procedure, and his attitude was basically look give these people the treatment they need, you know if they need a Panado give them a Panado, if they need an X-ray have them X-rayed but that’s where our job stops. It’s not our job to find out why this is happening or how it’s happening or to stop it quite frankly. I was absolutely flabbergasted that everybody knew it was happening and nobody was going to do a single thing about it. This went on for about a month and I became quite desperate. The daily litany of suffering, of sjambok wounds of lacerations, of horrible injuries, of mentally retarded young men who were detained for no rhyme or reason, elderly gentlemen who were released after their 14 days and then maliciously re-detained as they were about to get on the bus to go home. It literally broke my heart. I didn’t know what to do. And through a serendipitous circle of events and speaking to family members I was put in touch with Halton Cheadle, a human rights lawyer who did a lot of labour work in Port Elizabeth. And he came to see me and said, look you can carry on being the good doctor and handing out the Panado’s and the Mercurochrome or we can try and do something which will really make a difference and that is go to the Supreme Court with an affidavit with your evidence as the most compelling. It took us about ten days to get 44 affidavits together. Mine was the founding affidavit and then we got documentation from a number of people who’d been in prison and then released and told us what had happened to them, from family members who’d seen their husbands, brothers detained and beaten. And we went to the Supreme Court on a Tuesday, we filed our papers and on the Wednesday it was headline news all over the world.
Notes: Police violence; ‘Prison’ chief washed his hands of all assaults, says Wendy Orr,’ ‘Assault interdict ‘could lead to actions’’
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