MASERU — A police officer is suing the police commissioner for M450 000 after he was shot and seriously injured by the police during a “botched” roadblock four years ago.
Makatsanyane Lematla told the High Court last Wednesday that he was claiming M400 000 for pain and suffering, M50 000 for damages to his vehicle and another M9 000 for medical expenses.
Lematla said he sustained serious injuries on his shoulder and left hand after police officers from Berea, led by one senior inspector Nthimo, shot him during a roadblock in Mapoteng.
“The bullet is still trapped inside my left hand and my thumb is not functioning at all. My back injuries are still painful even today,” Lematla said.
He said his medical doctor had suggested that they do not attempt to remove the bullet as it was lodged in a dangerous position adding that an attempt to remove it could be dangerous.
“I’m still going for treatment,” Lematla said.
Relating his ordeal, Lematla said he was in the company of three men whom he had given a lift when Nthimo and his team stopped him along the road.
“He (Nthimo) alighted from a police van and ordered the police officers to search me but I warned him that I couldn’t be searched by those police officers because they were my juniors,” Lematla said.
He said the police then ordered the three passengers in his car — Nthoana Khemane, Thabo ‘Mefi and Mokebe Rebesone — to get out.
Lematla said he saw the three men being searched and kicked by the police.
“From there I heard several gunshots. I was shocked and it felt like I was dreaming,” he said.
He said he did not know why Nthimo shot him adding that it was not true that he attempted to flee from the police.
“I was on the driver’s seat when he shot me. He only stopped shooting after bullets shattered my van’s windows,” he said.
Lematla said he opened a case of attempted murder against Nthimo after the shooting but the “crown has shown it has lost interest in prosecuting him”.
He said he counted at least 15 bullet holes on his vehicle.
However, the respondent’s lawyer, Advocate Thabo Molokoane, told the court that the money Lematla was claiming was too exorbitant. He was Lematla was not entitled to claim such money as he was shot while fleeing from lawful arrest.
Lematla is being represented by Advocate Silas Ratau.
The case is before Justice Kelello Guni.