Content warning: The following story and videos contain disturbing descriptions and visuals of violence.
On Sunday morning a couple in Mpumalanga – Delia Human and her fiancé, Barend Byliefeldt – set out from their farm to do some shopping.
As they approached White River they noticed a group of vehicles surrounding them, crossing solid lines, and seemingly trying to push them off the road.
This was terrifying, and Human took out her phone to start recording.
By the time they reached the Casterbridge circle, they were almost completely surrounded.
Human describes the experience to Lowvelder, which escalated and became more harrowing as it went on. It is outlined below, as she described it, with an update on what has happened since, at the end of the article.
When something like this happens, or if you feel like you’re being followed while on the road, the advice commonly given is to drive to the nearest police station.
So, when after a black Range Rover blocked the couple’s path, and Byliefeldt managed to reverse and drive away, that’s where he tried to go, with the assailants in pursuit.
“They chased us with a white VW Golf, with blue ‘Tactical Response Unit’ branding and GP number plates; another white, similarly branded BMW SUV; a Mercedes-Benz sedan; a black Mercedes-Benz minibus; a grey Mercedes-Benz minibus; and other vehicles we were unable to identify at the time,” Human said.
Notably, at the point where their car was blocked off, the driver of the black Range Rover had, according to Human, allegedly exited the vehicle and approached them with a gun, so the fact that they managed to drive away was already a miracle.
The assailants had also smashed the car window.
The couple managed to make it to the police station, where they ran inside shouting for help, at which point they were taken to the “radio room”.
The story didn’t end at the police station, though. It got worse.
“We could see what was going on outside. Our dog was still in our car. There were a number of the men who had chased us outside the station. Some of them surrounded our vehicle, and others came inside requesting that the police must ‘let us out’ and that they wanted our cell phones”.
Byliefeldt kept recording:
One of the men started shouting at them from outside the window of the ‘radio room’.
The police told the couple to hand over their cellphones, and they refused.
“[The assailants] yelled that they had judges and police in their pockets and that we had no idea who they were and who we were dealing with. All the police did was threaten to take our phones, telling us repeatedly to hand these over to them and the men,” she said.
SAPS then moved then to another “safe” room.
They called a friend to come and pick up their dog, outside the station. When he arrived Byliefeldt left the room to help him, at which point he was chased back inside the station by the men who wanted his phone.
“He wanted to get back inside to me when four men started assaulting him inside the police station. Some of these men were armed. None of the police tried to stop the men. Barend was clinching his phone to his chest while at the same time trying to get back to me at the so-called safe area. At this point I started recording”.
The police did nothing. This video is particularly disturbing.
From a different angle:
— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) March 29, 2021
The assailants managed to get his phone.
“From when we had arrived at the police station, we asked several times to make a statement and open a case. We were ignored and threatened. “One of the men half-filled out an accident report. They were all free to go. No one performed any alcohol or drug tests on these men. We saw the police greet the men outside, at their vehicles, smiling and laughing,” Human said.
The Citizen followed up on the story.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said district commissioner of Ehlanzeni, Major-General Dianah Mashele, has since assembled a team to investigate the conduct of the SAPS members at the police station.
The assault was allegedly carried out by members of private security company MAMRA Security Solutions and VIP Protection. The owner claims that he was insulted and called a “baboon” by their victim, following a road rage incident in which Byliefeldt.
Maroga denied allegations made in one of the couple’s videos that he and his employees were trying to hijack them. He said they only chased after them, after he snatched their phone which contained evidence of the accident.
It’s an all-around horrifying story.
The investigation is ongoing.
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