Victim allegedly assaulted by Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens recovering after free medical treatment
Andrew Make, the victim of a brutal assault allegedly committed by members of the Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens, is on the mend after undergoing surgery at the Urology Hospital in Hatfield, Pretoria. However, justice remains elusive for Make as the investigation into his assault hangs in limbo.
In August, Daily Maverick reported on an incident in which a young man was brutally attacked in his home, allegedly by a group of Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens, and beaten almost to death. For weeks, Andrew Make lived in excruciating pain from injuries sustained during the attack and was placed on a long waiting list for urethroplasty surgery.
Make is now on the road to recovery after undergoing surgery on 29 September.
“I have been under the good care of the Urology Hospital in Hatfield with Dr Ijane, as well as the wound care specialist, Patrick Malebatsane, from Lebogang Healthcare Centre. They’ve been taking care of me and just ensuring that we don’t revert to the surgery room and that I don’t get any infections,” said Make.
Despite a minor hiccup that resulted in him being readmitted to the hospital, Make says the physical recovery process is going well.
“It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, as much as I wish and I hope… I still have a catheter but soon enough it should be taken out,” he said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng’s Crime Prevention Wardens were set up unlawfully, risk abuse of police powers – experts
‘Humane thing to do’
Dr Kabo Ijane, the urologist and robotic surgeon who operated on Make, heard about his ordeal on the 702 Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa show. Ijane works at the Urology Hospital, the first facility in South Africa to perform robotic surgery. With advanced technology, the hospital is still the only dedicated urological hospital in South Africa and one of a kind in Africa.
Ijane said the surgery was possible thanks to a team of excellent clinician nurses and an anaesthesiology team at the Rodseth firm.
“The CEO of the hospital, Mr Malcom Anthony, heard a touching story and pledged the assistance of the hospital,” he said.
Ijane is a urologist and a robotic surgeon. “That means over and above the other urological operations that we do, some like prostate and kidney cancer surgeries are performed using the robot,” he said.
The Da Vinci robotic surgical system “allows the surgeon to perform minimally invasive surgery with more precision and magnification; this assists with quick recoveries, decreases pain post-operation, decreases the need for blood transfusions with major operations, and allows for early recovery,” he said.
Ijane said the decision to assist Make was simple.
“It is a humane thing to do and a corporate compassionate act to the community in which we are stationed as a hospital and [as] professionals,” he said.
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Ijane explained that the injuries sustained by Make disrupted the urine pipe completely.
“There was total blockage of the flow of urine, requiring the use of a tube placed above the hip bone to empty the bladder,” he said.
“The operation planning required specialised imaging with the radiology department, and the operation entailed resection of all the scarred area of the pipe and connection of the healthy parts.”
The wound care team from Lebogang Healthcare, with Patrick Malebatsane, assisted a great deal with post-wound care for Make, said Ijane.
“The gentleman [Make] is well into his recovery and we continue to monitor his progress,” he said.
Mental scars remain for Make
The mental scars from the assault remain with Make, and he is currently receiving help from a counsellor at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group.
“They are just helping me with the trauma I endured. It is a long process and he [the counsellor] mentioned that it is like building a puzzle, so we take it step by step, day by day,” he said.
“Going through what I went through, that ordeal where people just barged into my residence, accused me of things, and ended up assaulting me — the smallest of sounds that happen on the outside, I will fall into a mini-panic attack thinking that it is those people that are coming back.”
Status of the investigation
Following Daily Maverick’s articles, the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and the South African Police Service made contact with Make, taking statements from him and witnesses. Make also now has legal representation.
“As for further developments in the case, I’m not too sure what exactly is going on now because we seem to be playing the waiting game once more,” he said.
An identity parade was meant to be conducted last week, but Make says this was scrapped, without any indication why.
“I’m just waiting for some sort of feedback from those parties, and then we’ll take it from there,” he said.
Make says the case is no longer with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate and is now back with the Katlehong North Police Station.
“I am just a little bit worried about the fact that there was a police officer who was present during that time [of the assault] and I don’t know what’s going to happen to that person,” he said.
Despite the uncertainty and concerns, Make is trying to remain hopeful that justice will be done.
“I’m just trying to stay optimistic and positive, hoping that everything does go through in the correct manner and that justice at the end of the day is served, with the parties who did the assault facing criminal charges and jail time,” he said.
“Compensation also needs to be paid for everything that I have gone through. I’m unable to work and it’s also been a heavy strain financially going to and from the hospital.”
Read more in Daily Maverick: Gauteng Crime Prevention Wardens – premier Panyaza Lesufi responds to Daily Maverick’s reporting
Gratitude for support and well wishes
Make appealed to anyone who has suffered a similar ordeal at the hands of the crime prevention wardens to reach out and let everyone know what has happened to them.
“The wardens are a good initiative from the government side to combat crime and so forth, but we just need to work on the legality of them, their training, and the way they do their jobs on the street,” he said.
Make said he was deeply grateful for all the well wishes and support he has received.
“I’m hoping and praying that at the end of the day I do get justice, and that nothing like this happens to any other individual — an ordeal like this is very hard to recover from, and it’s something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone at all,” he said.
“We are not yet at the happy ending… the happy ending I hope we do reach is where justice is finally served and everything settles down.” DM