Masi accused speaks at Pagad rally
THE Masiphumelele community leader accused of driving mob justice attacks and violent protests has joined forces with the controversial group Pagad.
Lubabalo Vellem, 35, who faces criminal charges including murder, joined the group on an anti-drug march in Parow a week ago.
Pagad, formed in 1996, was first known for its vigilante campaigns against alleged drug dealers.
At the event last week Vellem, who is out on bail after an appearance in the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court last month, told Pagad he and his co-leaders had decided to act because police were not doing their jobs in the informal settlement.
This week Vellem said he would support future Pagad events. “I will do more. I don’t see anything wrong.”
Vellem said he had been invited to address last week’s Pagad march.
But Pagad says it was not a formal invitation and any “sincere resident” would have been given an opportunity to speak.
After the march last week, Vellem made a speech over a loudspeaker. In a video of the speech, posted on Pagad’s Facebook page, he and a few friends from Masiphumelele were formally welcomed by a Pagad member and Vellem was applauded as he prepared to speak.
He told the crowd: “What we did on September 15, but it actually started on September 9, was because of the lack of police.”
This week Pagad leader Haroon Orrie said members had been in contact with Vellem for a while. “I can’t say for how long, but even from before the problems (at Masiphumelele) flared up.”
He said Vellem had “by chance” arrived at Saturday’s event, to which a number of residents had been invited. Vellem’s speech had been impromptu. “It was a public event… It’s a platform for people to speak.”
Vellem, a head of the Masiphumelele Backyarders and Informal Settlement Forum, faces charges of murder, attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and inciting public violence.
His arrest saw more than 1 000 residents go on a rampage to demand his release from custody. The case against him is postponed to next year.
ADDRESS: Lubabalo Vellem, a Masiphumelele community leader accused of inciting violent mob attacks and protests, speaks at a Pagad march in Parow. Vellem, who is out on bail, plans to support more Pagad events.