Charges dropped for ‘sticker’ street renaming

2012-02-21 07:13

The charges against six men accused of using stickers to rename Nelson Mandela Drive in Pretoria to Clive Derby-Lewis Drive have been withdrawn, according to a report today.

The charges were withdrawn yesterday by the Pretoria Magistrates Court, The Times newspaper reported.

Ben Geldenhuys (38), Jan Beyers (31), Tommy Harmse (33), Ewald Graefe (30), Cobus Pretorius (25), and Rian Combrink (27) were arrested for allegedly using stickers to rename the street names on directional boards in Sunnyside on the night of July 17.

Closed circuit television cameras along Nelson Mandela Drive recorded their actions and police rushed to the scene.

The men were found in possession of several replacement stickers bearing the name “Clive Derby-Lewis Drive”.
They refused to explain their actions to the police and were charged with malicious damage to property.

Geldenhuys claimed that all they had wanted to do was to draw attention to Derby-Lewis’s plight in prison.

Derby-Lewis, a former Conservative Party MP, is serving a life sentence for his role in the assassination of SA Communist Party secretary general Chris Hani.

Hani was killed outside his home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, on April 10 1993.

Using a gun provided by Derby-Lewis, Polish immigrant Janusz Walus shot Hani in the head as he stepped out of his car.

Geldenhuys claimed that he was arrested because of his race, the newspaper reported.

“The only reason I was arrested was because I was white,” he was quoted as saying.

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