R10m lawsuit for Bheki Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

Police minister Bheki Cele. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspaper

Published Jun 10, 2024


Social media commentator Sphithiphithi Evaluator, whose name is known to The Star, is suing Police Minister Bheki Cele for R10 million for unlawful arrest during the 2021 insurrection case.

Sphithiphithi Evaluator (name withheld at her request for safety reasons) was the only female arrested and charged with instigation after she was accused of being behind unrest tweets and was charged with using social media to instigate unrest.

She was arrested in August 2021 at her home in Ekurhuleni amid being accused of inciting public violence through X (formerly Twitter) account Sphithiphithi Evaluator @_Africansoil and appeared in the Germiston Magistrate’s Court, where she was granted R3 000 bail.

At the time, she said 10 plain-clothes police officers stormed her house without a warrant and arrested her in front of her children, aged 3 and 6, and confiscated more than 10 gadgets, including her children’s cellphones, laptops and some of her husband’s gadgets.

She said the family was traumatised. Her bedroom was turned upside down, but they never found anything.

The account holder was highly critical of President Cyril Ramaphosa and defended former president Jacob Zuma, who at the time had been found guilty of contempt of court after failing to appear at the Constitutional Court, for which he was sentenced to 15 months’ direct imprisonment at Estcourt Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

She said she was arrested after a phone call from a certain minister.

“On March 30, 2022, the magistrate struck off the case and lashed out at the state (National Prosecuting Authority) for abuse and malicious prosecution towards me after they failed to provide evidence,” she said.

Sphithiphithi Evaluator said she wants Cele, provincial head of the Hawks in Gauteng Major-General Ebrahim Kadwa and the NPA to account for the alleged damage to her family.

“Cele and others got information about that and assumed I was an ex-Intelligence official. Cele did serious defamation on me and worked with people outside the law enforcement to target me. Kadwa was leading the rogue investigation team with Mr Govender. I forgot his name. The NPA and Hawks leaked the contents in my phones to journalists. Reporters called my dad, who didn't even know what was going on. They went through my phone gallery and leaked certain photos to some known journalists who called themselves investigators,” said Sphithiphithi Evaluator.

Speaking exclusively to “The Star” on Monday, Sphithiphithi Evaluator revealed that she has met with her legal team and is ready to sue the state for more than R10 million for unlawful arrest.

“What I want is justice. The state violated the Constitution. They knew it but went ahead and violated my right to stop us from expressing our views on social media. I will not stop fighting until everyone involved is held accountable for the damage they caused. Our parents did not fight apartheid only for the government of the ANC to reintroduce it through back doors. My legal team will further report certain state individuals to the international human rights organisations,” said Sphithiphithi Evaluator.

Cele through his spokesperson Lirandzu Themba was contacted for a comment but had not responded at the time of print.

Hawks spokesperson Colonel Katlego Mogale was contacted, but at the time of print there was no response.

NPA regional spokesperson Gauteng Local Division Phindi Mjonondwane was also contacted for comment, but she too failed to respond.

In April this year, IOL reported that Cele said they had paid out between R259m and R541m between 2018 and last year.

Police face thousands of claims every year for various lawsuits lodged against them, including unlawful arrest and detention.

But Cele said in the 2018/19 financial year they paid R356m and in the following financial year they paid out R329m.

The Star

[email protected]