Court date for 20 res­i­dents put off

Charges against one with­drawn

The Rep - - NEWS - ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

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.

Pic­ture: ABONGILE SOLUNDWANA

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

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