Protesters still defiant

2011-07-06 00:00

THE 29 ANC activists who were arrested at the party’s regional offices on Monday evening vowed yesterday to continue their protest in cars parked outside the building.

They were released on bail of R100 each and warned that if they try to enter the offices again they will be rearrested.

A large police contingent was deployed at the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday to maintain order when the 18 men and 11 women appeared on a charge of contempt of court.

A large crowd of supporters were also present, chanting and singing in the corridors.

The case was postponed to July 19 for further investigations and to enable the group’s attorney, Sbani Nzimande, to make representations to the authorities.

The contempt charge arises from an order granted by high court Judge Trevor Gorven on Friday requiring the “illegal occupiers” of the ANC’s regional offices to vacate the premises immediately pending the final outcome of an application seeking to bar them permanently from continuing with a sit-in that began on May 30.

The case is due to return to the high court tomorrow.

At the offices yesterday the locks had been changed and the keys given to the police for safekeeping to prevent unauthorised access.

After the protesters emerged singing from the courthouse, one of them, Siyabonga Mshengu, told The Witness, “We have been shown by the provincial executive committee (PEC) under the leadership of Dr Zweli Mkhize that they are not prepared to meet our demands to disband the ANC regional executive committee (REC.

“It is clear that some police officials provincially and nationally were members of the apartheid Askari unit … they arrested us without following proper procedures.

“The provincial leadership must not use state organs to settle political scores.”

Mshengu said the group does not trust Premier Mkhize’s leadership because he has failed them on several occasions.

“The struggle to eradicate corruption will continue and this time we definitely going to intensify our demands by mobilising more people to remove all the corruptors,” he said.

The district deputy secretary of the SA Communist Party, Themba Magwaza, said they are disappointed in provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala’s statement that there is nothing wrong with the REC, when it was directly involved in squandering funds of Msunduzi Municipality, leading it to near collapse.

“As the SACP we condone the decision by [former deputy mayor] Mervyn Dirks for speaking out against corruption,” said Magwaza.

The accused who appeared in court yesterday are Bongani Nkala, Nkokehla Goge, Thabile Ndlela, Nelisiwe Mbanjwa, Smangele Nyimbili, Sandiswa Hlongwane, Ayanda Hlongwane, Bongiwe Mthembu, Sifiso Mzobe, Sibusiso Mlaba, Siyabonga Mshengu, Thulani Nzama, Snothi Sokhela, Brian Dlamini, Moeketsi Stemmer, Lwazi Mkhize, Nomusa Qoli, Nkosikhona Cebekulu, Neliswa Hlela, Phathiswa Zulu, Zodwa Nyusa, Thandazile Cebekulu, Thandokuhle Mlaba, Ayanda Ndlovu, Siphosenkosi Mlambo, Thulani Gumede, Dennis Mnikathi, Nkosinathi Dlamini and Harrison Phungula.

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