Bakkie full of naartjies was sent to Balani house by Swellendam cops after Debevu Balani, 74, was dragged by police van.

This oupa’s relatives say a cop ran him over, and police then tried to soften the blow of his death by giving them a crate of naartjies and R800.

Debevu Balani, 74, died on his way to hospital on June 3.

His family says the next day, a bakkie filled with naartjies was delivered to their home, compliments of Swellendam SAPS.

Witnesses say Debevu was chatting to a friend when the accident occurred in Resiesbaan Street, Swellendam, at 9am.

“The van had been standing for a while and then the officer just reversed, drove over Oupa and he went underneath, before he was dragged by it for a few metres,” says Analise Baartman.

“It was a very traumatic thing to see, we cannot understand how the driver couldn’t hear the screams or why he decided to reverse when there were people on the road.”

Cops say they were in the area searching for a suspect at the time.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate(IPID) has confirmed the cop involved is under investigation for culpable homicide.

IPID spokesperson, Robbie Raburabu, says: “A constable put his vehicle in reverse and knocked the deceased who was standing behind the back of the vehicle.”

But Debevu’s son, Lubabalo Balani, 39, says all they have been left with are questions and a garden full of vrot naartjies.

“The next day we went to see his body at the morgue, he had two big scars running vertically down his face from being dragged on the road,” he says.

“When we got home, we found this crate of naartjies and we were told that police had dropped it off to give to mourners who come by.”

He says they accepted the “gift” out of common courtesy, “but we later realised what an insult it was and we threw them in the garden”.

Lubabalo adds: “Then the station commander gave us an R800, which they had collected from the station to use for the burial.”

“My father was not for sale, he died as a result of what a police officer did. It was an accident but they need to take more responsibility, and not try to make it disappear with naartjies and an R800.”