Bluelight protester to sue cops

2010-02-25 14:43

The Cape Town man who was arrested for gesturing at President Jacob

Zuma’s blue light convoy is pressing ahead with a damages claim against the

police, his lawyer said today.

“This claim will be instituted in the high court and counsel has

been briefed accordingly,” said Port Elizabeth attorney Neil O’Brien.

He also said the student, Chumani Maxwele, had been told by police

to make a written apology to Zuma, and had not done so voluntarily.

Maxwele was arrested on February 10 by members of Zuma’s VIP

protection unit after gesturing – according to police, with his middle finger –

at the convoy as his passed him on a Cape Town road.

He was held overnight and released without being charged.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa later released a sworn statement in

which Maxwele apologised to Zuma and the police.

However, O’Brien said that according to Maxwele, the “apology” was

written on the instruction of a member of the police at the Mowbray police


This was while he was still in detention, and after he had been

denied the opportunity to contact an attorney.

“Our client was told by the said member to write anything that

would justify his release, and was promised that he would then be detained only

for a few more hours,” O’ Brien said.

“Our client was further told to insert at the end of the letter the

following apology, to facilitate his release: ‘Mr President JG Zuma, without any

conditions attached, I apologise to you as well as to the Republic of South


O’Brien said that for a charge of crimen injuria against Zuma to

stand, Zuma himself would have to have been aware of and offended by Maxwele’s


“In light of the fact that the president has denied any knowledge

of the incident, there can be no question of any impairment of his


Maxwele denied having criminal “records” for common assault and

riotous behaviour.

Though he had been charged with those offences, both charges were


Maxwele also denied pointing his middle finger at the president’s


“Our client merely waived [sic] the convoy on in response to the

noise made by them,” O’Brien said.

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