Poo protester Lili a 'modern day Mandela'

2015-08-06 19:36
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - "He is a man of the people. He fights for us and is not afraid of those who hold power and positions. He is a modern day Mandela."

Gladys Themba, 43, is one of dozens of Ses’khona People Rights Movement supporters who backs leader Andile Lili whenever he is in the dock.

She has lost count of how many times she has sported her yellow ANC T-shirt and come out in support of Lili.

According to the State, Lili has four cases pending. He was arrested on June 3, 2013 for dumping human waste on the provincial government's doorstep in Wale Street.

That same year, he was among those arrested and later convicted of dumping faeces at Cape Town International Airport.

He was charged with incitement of violence in 2014 when he allegedly encouraged supporters to "push back" police who were monitoring his supporters. Lili's supporters had turned out in droves at yet another court appearance relating to poo protests.

The most recent charge of incitement of violence saw him arrested last week after he told supporters criminals should be "killed immediately and brutally".

Lili has been behind bars since his arrest and the State is opposing bail citing the seriousness of the offence. The State also says Lili has breached his bail conditions in terms of the previous incitement charge.

His bail bid continues in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Hero

However, to Themba, Lili is a hero and she is not the only one.

"He is being judged for encouraging us to take a stand against those people who are holding our communities hostage. This justice system is crucifying him when they should be taking action against the tsotsis!"

He told the crowd on Tuesday he was not satisfied with the country's justice system.

"Sometimes [criminals] are arrested... but the justice system releases them. So the only thing we can do is to kill [them] immediately if we find a criminal.

"We must kill them, comrades! We are liberating ourselves from criminals. Police are trying, but the justice system is failing us."

Themba insisted Lili’s message was misunderstood.

"He was encouraging us to not allow criminals to rule our communities. What is wrong with that?

"If he goes to jail, we will still support him. Tata Madiba went to prison for decades for what he believed. Comrade Andile is willing to do the same.

"He understands us, the forgotten people who the [DA] does not care about. This man understands what the poor and destitute are going through."

Lili, however, is not poor and destitute, the court heard on Wednesday.

According to the State, Lili has a monthly income of R20 000 from "donors".

This was pointed out when investigating officer Lieutenant Alfred Vertue took the stand during Lili’s bail application.

In an affidavit read out by his lawyer Joey Moses, Lili claimed to be married with five children.

However, this was countered by the state prosecutor who had documented proof Lili had been divorced since 2012. According to the state, he paid a collective R3 000 in maintenance for two children.

Respected across the city

Gigi Sophazi is another of Lili's supporters.

"I will come back every time [he is in the dock] because this man is standing up for people like me, who want a better life," she said passionately.

"He represents us and wants to see the people living in the settlements moving forward. Can the same be said about the city councillors living in the suburbs that look down on us and want to tell us what it is that we need? No."

Ses’khona spokesperson Sulyman Stellenboom said Lili’s supporters were "behind him 100%".

"Even if this matter is postponed 50 times, we will be there every time he steps into court. He is respected across the city for his stance and support of the poor," he said.

"We will keep coming back until Andile is free and back in his community."

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