EFF protests over ar­rests


EFF party mem­bers protested out­side the Ez­i­be­leni Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day in sup­port of eight peo­ple who were ar­rested on Thurs­day for de­fy­ing a Gra­ham­stown High Court or­der by il­le­gally erect­ing shacks on mu­nic­i­pal land.

Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (EMLM) won a court in­ter­dict in Oc­to­ber pre­vent­ing any­one from oc­cu­py­ing the land – known as the High­way in Ez­i­be­leni.

Sipho Gcwata, Sim­phiwe Jik­i­jela, Nobantu Sinx­oto, Nelisa Gawe, Zan­dis­ile Gcwata, Siseko Fatyela, Seben­zile Mahe and Novusile Mahe, ap­peared in the Ez­i­be­leni Mag­is­trate’s Court and were charged for con­tempt of court by mag­is­trate Xoliswa Ng­wendlu and each granted R200 bail.

The case was post­poned to March 15 for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Sipho, Jik­i­jela, Gawe and Zan­dis­ile, were ar­rested by the Ez­i­be­leni sta­tion com­man­der lieutenant-colonel Bekek­ile Waka af­ter they ap­proaced the po­lice sta­tion to protest against the four peo­ple who were ar­rested be­fore them.

Jik­i­jela said three el­derly res­i­dents were among those ar­rested and thus the EFF had asked Waka to ar­rest them in­stead and to re­lease the oth­ers. They claimed they were threat­ened and put be­hind bars, but that they would con­tinue to in­vade the land.

Mahe, 71, who was ar­rested with his wife Novusile, 56, said they were de­prived of their med­i­ca­tion dur­ing their in­car­cer­a­tion. He said be­ing ar­rested was a pain­ful ex­pe­ri­ence be­cause he had to watch his wife sleep on a cold ce­ment floor for four days.

Zo­lile Mati­wane of Mati­wane at­tor­neys who rep­re­sented the eight pro bono, said he was ap­proached by the EFF to as­sist the ar­rested com­mu­nity mem­bers. “We tried so hard to get them re­leased on Fri­day but due to the se­ri­ous­ness of the case we fell short. All we wanted to do to­day was get bail for them and we suc­cess­fully did that. The state ini­tially pro­posed R500 bail but due to most them be­ing un­em­ployed, we man­aged to get it re­duced to R200.”

EFF MP Zo­lile Xal­isa spoke out­side the court, en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to con­tinue in­vad­ing land.

“It can­not be that the young peo­ple of this mu­nic­i­pal­ity still live in their par­ents’ homes when there is un­oc­cu­pied land. The po­lice will have to ar­rest all of us if that is their wish, but we are not moved or shaken by this in­ci­dent and we will con­tinue stand­ing by those who are ar­rested.”

EFF coun­cil­lor in EMLM, Luthando Amos, ad­vised the com­mu­nity to be strate­gic when they de­cide to in­vade land by not build­ing their shacks dur­ing the day but rather in the evening so that the po­lice would wake up to a sur­prise new com­mu­nity and so avoid ar­rests.


ON SITE: EFF mem­bers protest against the ar­rest of eight peo­ple af­ter shacks were erected on land in Ez­i­be­leni, in vi­o­la­tion of an in­ter­dict pro­hibit­ing it

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