Court date for 20 residents put off
Charges against one withdrawn
An Ezibeleni resident, Loyiso Ngculu, who was among 21 Ezibeleni protesters arrested for public violence as a result of a service delivery protest in June, has had the charges withdrawn by the Komani Magistrate’s Court.
The charges were withdrawn on Thursday due to a lack of evidence.
The 21 residents were charged with public violence, malicious damage to property and contravention of the National Road Act.
They were represented by Matiwane Attorneys’ Zolile Matiwane, who worked pro bono.
Ngculu, who had sustained injuries on the day of his arrest, said he had been assaulted by the police. After his court appearance, he said he would find another lawyer to sue the state because Matiwane had only represented him in the court case.
The rest of the 20 accused, who appeared after Ngculu, were told that their case had been postponed to January 18.
Matiwane said, “I suspect that the case was not withdrawn by the state due to the accused No1, Zolile Xalisa, being an MPL. I will write a representation to the director of public prosecution in Grahamstown (Makhanda).
“My clients were going to work and others to town and the police were randomly arresting people in the streets. They have no evidence that they committed [acts of] public violence.”
Xalisa, an EFF MPL, urged community members facing the charges to refrain from public protests until the case was over, while urging the rest of the residents to continue.
“Komani and Ezibeleni must demand service delivery because, as we speak, there is no water in Ezibeleni.”
He said community members should mobilise support for the next court appearance in January.
“All political parties must support the community members who were charged. This is not for the EFF, but for all residents. The people of Komani must stand up for their rights,” he said.
SERVICE PLEASE: Discussions under way outside the magistrate’s court in Komani following the appearance of 21 people on various charges related to a service delivery protest in Ezibeleni in June