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‘They beat him up until he died’: IPID steps in after Cape Town man dies in police custody


The SAPS Anti Gang Unit. (Photo: GCIS)

  • IPID says post-mortem results will confirm the cause of death of a Cape Town man who was taken in custody by police.
  • Leroy Oliphant was allegedly assaulted by the members of the Anti-Gang Unit. 
  • Oliphant’s family say police beat him until he died. 

The family of a 30-year-old man who died in police custody say he was treated like an animal. 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) says it is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Leroy Oliphant, from Elsies River in Cape Town, who died in police custody on Tuesday. 

He was in the custody of SAPS’s Anti-Gang Unit when he died.

Leroy’s aunt, Caren Potberg, described how he was allegedly treated in police custody, saying he was killed like an animal.

“They beat him up until he died.”

“He didn’t deserve to die like that, he wasn’t a dog,” said Potberg. She said that another man who was with Leroy told them that he could hear crying while the police were assaulting him, and that after some time there was dead silence.

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IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola said an investigation had started and post-mortem tests conducted. She said the post-mortem results were important for the investigation, because they would confirm the cause of death. 

“We are broken, it’s really hard for us as a family to cope ever since we heard the news of Leroy’s death,” Potberg said.

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She said that Oliphant left behind two children, an 11-year-old boy and a three-year-old girl.

“He was under parole, and he was trying to fix his life, but the police still killed him,” she added.

According to the report by IOL, when Oliphant was taken by police from his house in Epping Forest, he reportedly told his landlord to inform his parole officer he was in custody because they had a scheduled meeting on the day. 

The publication reported that, according to community leader Imraahn Mukaddam, Oliphant’s landlady claimed the officer had kicked the gate off its hinges and that she could hear them assaulting him.

Compiled by Sesona Ngqakamba and Cebelihle Mthethwa


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