Father accuses police of denying son medical treatment


A SUSPECT detained at Keetmanshoop police station in the // Kharas area said the police were refusing him medical assistance.

Sylvester Meintjies is said to be suffering from “epileptic seizures, hysteria and spinal cord injuries”.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr Alex van den Horst, in a letter dated November 17, asked Meintjies for permission to attend a consultation on November 30, which was not granted.

Meintjies was arrested for rape in early November and has already appeared in court.

He is expected to return to Keetmanshoop Magistrates’ Court on January 27 to seek his release on bail.

Meintjies father Ambrosius Matheus claims his son suffered epileptic seizures from November 13 for three consecutive days and was not taken to hospital.

He says he contacted the Kennedy Sikokwane station commander, who told him that Meintjies had indeed been taken to hospital and diagnosed with epilepsy on November 17.

“If immediate action had been taken on November 13 or the second day, his condition would not have deteriorated so badly,” Matheus said.

After his meeting with Sikokwane, Matheus says he gave him the letter from Van den Horst.

Sikokwane, however, reportedly said the family brought the letter to him too late for arrangements to be made.

Meintjies reportedly suffered a spinal injury in December of last year when he was struck by a vehicle on the B1 road.

Meanwhile, Martha Angula, a social worker with the Department of Health and Human Services, sent the police a letter requesting “special conditions” for Meintjies, such as a special mattress.

Angula in the letter said that based on the findings of the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kanyanga Sabwa, Meintjies should be held in a cell with juvenile offenders.

Meintjies was also allegedly involved in a fight with another detainee and suffered other injuries.

Police Commissioner David Indongo said special conditions for detainees could not be taken into account.

“We don’t have enough police cells to place people alone or with juvenile delinquents. Our cells are overcrowded, ”he says.

Indongo says an inmate with epilepsy also cannot be held alone, as he may need help during attacks.

“We also cannot import a special mattress because the prisons have prescribed mattresses which the suspect has one,” he said.

According to Indongo, Meintjies was taken to Windhoek on Tuesday to be treated there for his spinal cord injuries.

“I can tell you that it is just a father who does his best to create special conditions for his son,” he says.


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