Farrarmere, Benoni resident Byron Viljoen claims his yard was illegally raided by the EMPD on October 19, Benoni City Times reports.
“I specialise in fixing cars such as Subarus, Mitsubishis and Hondas, so the EMPD accused me of running a ‘chop-shop’,” he said.
Viljoen said the EMPD failed to provide a warrant to search his property and broke his front gate as they entered his property.
“They showed up two hours later with a warrant that wasn’t even completed,” he said.
According to Benoni SAPS spokesperson Nomsa Sekele, the only instances in which police are allowed to search property without a warrant is when officers suspect a life is in danger or if police have reasonable grounds to suspect illegal activity.
“If we can see the process is going to take too long to apply for a warrant in court, we can search the property without a warrant,” she said.
Viljoen’s brother, who preferred not to be named directly, said he was alone at their house on the evening the incident took place.
“They thought I was Byron and put me in a police car and drove me around for four hours,” he said.
“They were very abusive, used foul language and their body language was very intimidating.”
Viljoen said he arrived at his home about 30 minutes after the raid had started.
According to Viljoen, the EMPD “stole” car parts with a replacement value of about R400 000.
Viljoen’s private investigator (PI), who wants to remain anonymous, said EMPD officers confiscated various car parts such as exhaust pipes and four pairs of rims without authorisation and loaded them onto a bakkie which they took to Daveyton.
“The bakkie was then stolen in Daveyton with all of Byron’s car parts still on it,” claims the PI.
According to Viljoen’s PI, the EMPD was only there to assist another private investigator who was looking into Viljoen’s business.
“I did check and he is a licensed PI, but he has no authority to raid anybody’s private property,” he said.
Viljoen said a friend filmed the officers seizing the car parts.
“They took my friend’s phone and deleted the footage taken, but iPhones have trash folders, so we retrieved most of that,” he said.
In a video she took, an officer can be heard saying she was not allowed take a video.
The officer was wrongfully citing the Protection of Information Act.
Viljoen also said he was defamed.
“An EMPD member posted pictures of my belongings on his Facebook page on the evening of the raid and said a suspect had been arrested for running an illegal business, but nobody arrested me and I didn’t do anything illegal,” he said.
Sekele confirmed neither Viljoen nor his brother was arrested or taken in for questioning.
“Everybody knows my cars so I can easily be identified by them,” he explained.
Viljoen added that he fixes cars from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.
He said he is known to be good at building and repairing these cars.
The City Times has seen and has evidence of the licences, which stipulate that the cars are legally in South Africa.
Viljoen opened a case of theft against the EMPD in November last year, for the missing car parts.
Sekele said the police had closed the case Viljoen opened but said she is not at liberty to disclose why.
“There are some things we share with the City Times and there are things we only share with the complainant,” she said.
She said Viljoen had to speak with the investigating officer who was handling his case.
Viljoen said he went to the station on February 2, but the investigating officer was unavailable.
“The officer was not on duty during the day this week. The constable who dealt with me remembered me and jokingly asked why I haven’t been arrested yet,” he said.
The EMPD did not respond to questions sent to them on January 18.
The City Times has made numerous calls to EMPD spokesperson Chief Supt Wilfred Kgasago to ask for comment pertaining to claims of the stolen vehicle containing the car parts.
Sekele said there is not a case pending against Viljoen.
She said she cannot say why Viljoen cannot collect his cars and that he must speak to the investigating officer directly.