A former casino shift manager, whose life was shattered when he was arrested and detained for more than five months for a robbery in which he was the victim, has been awarded over R1 million damages.
Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered the minister of police to pay R1 041 000 damages to Ishmael Mbanjwa of Kwathema in Springs for his unlawful arrest and detention in 2005.
Mbanjwa was 29 with a promising career ahead of him in the casino industry when robbers hit the Carousel Casino, where he was a shift manager.
Despite CCTV footage clearly showing that Mbanjwa was a victim, his nightmare began when he was arrested in connection with the robbery a month later.
The investigating officer strenuously opposed bail, claiming there was a strong case against Mbanjwa and he had to spend five months in the “living hell” of one of the country’s most notorious prisons, where he shared a cell with 50 other inmates with only one toilet between them.
When he was finally released on bail, the young father found that the Gambling Board had blacklisted him, which caused him to lose his job.
He lost his home, his furniture was repossessed and he was unemployed for a long time.