R500: the cost of carrying weapons at a public gathering

2014-03-12 11:36

The price of carrying a knife and a knobkerrie in public has gone up.

Mvuyane Ndwandwe learnt this last week at the Rustenburg Magistrates’ Court when he was charged for carrying a knife and a knobkerrie at a public gathering.

He was charged under the Dangerous Weapons Act which came into effect in January.

According to North West police spokesperson Thulane Ngubane, Ndwandwe is the first person to be charged under this act.

“He was ordered to pay a R500 admission of guilt fine because he pleaded guilty. In other circumstances, people can be fined more than that,” he said.

Ndwandwe is apparently a member of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu).

He was a member of a group of about 30 miners blockading a road in Nkaneng near Amplats’ Khuseleka shaft in January when the Amcu wage strike started.

Ngubane said he could not say why only one person was arrested out of a group of dozens of strikers.

“The accused was arrested when the police removed and dispersed a group of approximately 30 strikers who were sitting in the middle of the road, blocking the free flow of traffic, as well as preventing nonstriking workers from going to work,” said Ngubane.

“He was the only person arrested because some might have escaped. What is important is that he was arrested and charged for carrying dangerous weapons, especially due to what has happened before in such instances where people are allowed to carry such weapons.”

Amcu is in its seventh week of a mine strike. Negotiations between the union, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration and the platinum mines have stalled.

Ngubane said: “We have warned strikers that carrying such dangerous weapons was prohibited. Though this strike is legal, it has strict restrictions. The strikers were prohibited from displaying any dangerous weapons.”

The new law prevents the carrying of dangerous weapons during public gatherings and protests. These include popular weapons carried during strikes, including spears and axes, which could cause death or inflict serious bodily harm.

“This is an indication that police will deal effectively with those who are disregarding the laws of the country, particularly during various gatherings including protected strikes,” said Ngubane.

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