Charges against ACDP Free State chair dropped

Charges of assault, resisting arrest and impeding a police officer in performing his duties were withdrawn against the Free State chairperson of the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) on Monday, the party said.

Hendrik Minnie, a Mangaung Local Municipality councillor, was arrested on Friday night at Heidedal in Bloemfontein and spent the weekend in police custody.

“We are extremely grateful, but we also expected that the case would be dropped,” said Casper Nordier, Free State leader of the ACDP.

“We believed from the outset that Minnie was the victim rather than the culprit.”

Minnie was released without appearing in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s court on Monday.

Minnie had rushed to help a friend who was apparently being assaulted by police on Friday night.

He wanted to know why the man was being assaulted.

After the incident Minnie, his wife and a secretary at the party’s Bloemfontein office, Koba van Rooi, went to the Heidedal police station to enquire where the man would be held.

The Volksblad newspaper quoted Van Rooi as saying: “While we were there the friend came in and told us we must come and look how a police officer was hitting Minnie.

“His spectacles were broken and his left cheek and eye were swollen.

“While we walked out with the man to go and look I was [also] sprayed by a police officer with pepper spray in the face.

“The whole incident was very degrading.”

Minnie was apparently taken to hospital after the incident and brought back to the police cells.

Nordier said the party would support Minnie and Van Rooi in their cases of assault against the police.

The party said earlier it knew that Commissioner Jackie Selebi gave an order against unnecessary arrests close to weekends, which led to people spending the weekend in jail.

“We will follow the internal investigation of the police with interest.

“The matter was [also] taken up ... with the provincial minister for safety and security,” a party statement read.—Sapa

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