In a significant legal victory, a man named Mdunyiswa Mtolo from Pietermaritzburg has been awarded R3.3 million in compensation by the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
This decision comes after an arduous 8-year legal battle involving his wrongful arrest and imprisonment.
The court ruled that Mr. Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, is to pay Mtolo for the injustice he suffered.
Mtolo’s ordeal began in 2011 when he was arrested while working as a boilermaker.
He was accused of a crime he didn’t commit and was held in custody for over two years. Despite being innocent, he faced harsh conditions in prison, including sleeping with minimal bedding and even paying money to avoid abuse.
The court found that his arrest and imprisonment were unjust, and he was awarded R3 million for his illegal detainment and loss of freedom, R300,000 for defamation, and R67,200 for lost salary.
The court also ordered the minister to cover the legal costs.
Judge Robin Mossop emphasized the emotional and physical suffering Mtolo endured during his wrongful imprisonment.
Mr. Mbongeni Mathonsi, Mtolo’s lawyer, expressed satisfaction with the court’s decision, highlighting the importance of his client being able to move forward and recover from the traumatic experience.
Mtolo, relieved by the outcome, hopes to regain his life’s normalcy and privacy after the long legal battle.
He criticized the government’s delay in resolving the case, which spanned nearly 8 years.
The minister’s spokesperson promised to provide more information before commenting on the decision.
This ruling sheds light on the necessity of ensuring justice for wrongfully convicted individuals, emphasizing the importance of a fair legal system and the accountability of authorities.