Metro police detained a South African man alleging that his Islamic attire made him look like a “foreigner and a terrorist”, www.intl.iol.co.za reported.
Charles Makgati, a Muslim from Johannesburg, was on his way home from a shop when he was arrested. He says police officers told him his “Muslim hat” made him look like a “foreigner and a terrorist.”
Makgati’s wife was also arrested when she went to the Hillbrow police station to present her husband’s South African ID.
Police arrested the wife, Nonhlanhla Kambule-Makgati, a Business Report photographer, and confiscated her camera, claiming that she wasn’t authorized to take pictures inside the police station.
Even after Makgati showed the police officers his ID, he was charged with being in the country illegally. He and his wife were also charged with crimen injuria for allegedly insulting police officers and were released on R400 bail each.
”Why was I given bail if I'm an illegal foreigner?" asked Makgati.
"I was carrying a newspaper and milk when the officers, who had set up a roadblock for pedestrians, asked me for my ID. I showed them the keys and that my house was about 200m from where we were, but they said I was wasting their time."
Makgati said he tried desperately to prove to the police officers that he wasn’t an illegal foreigner by speaking fluently in Setswana, Sepedi and isiZulu.
”They said they could not trust me and said my English accent was foreign...
"I was arrested even though there was a chance that this could have been prevented, as my ID was in my house around the corner. The question now is: Are we supposed to carry our IDs with us at all times, like back in the old days of apartheid?" he asked.
Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the couple was arrested on officers' discretion, adding that the charges would be dismissed after Makgati proved that he was a South African.
However, he said the crimen injuria charge would remain.
Makgati and his wife are due to appear at the Hillbrow magistrate's court on Monday.