Charges against Hout Bay residents withdrawn

2010-09-22 13:10

Charges of public violence were withdrawn in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court today against 40 of the 58 Hangberg, Hout Bay residents, Western Cape police said.

Seventeen other residents were released on warning and one was discharged after he could not be linked to the alleged crime, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch said.

The residents were arrested yesterday when they allegedly attacked police who were dismantling their illegal shacks.

The Western Cape Congress of SA Trade Unions described the arrests as a “war against poor people by the DA”. “The solution to this is to negotiate with people as this hardhandedness just shows an inability to govern in the interest of the people,” spokesperson Tony Ehrenreich said.

However, City of Cape Town spokesperson Kylie Hatton said there were no shacks demolished that had people living in them. “They were empty structures and no one was evicted from their shacks and left homeless as a result,” she said.

Talk Radio 702 earlier reported that relatives and friends of the residents had gathered outside court in support, but they moved away after being told that they did not have permission to protest outside the court.

They came back after school children arrived to protest over community issues.

The radio station further reported that police struggled to disperse the protesters and blocked off the road in front of the court while trying to reason with the pupils.

The residents accused police involved in yesterday’s violence of brutality and demanded that Mayor Dan Plato and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille step down.

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