We won’t vote, say arrested protesters

2009-04-21 00:00

SIXTY farm dwellers and tenants who were staging a sit-in at the Land Affairs offices in Pietermaritzburg were arrested yesterday after they defied police orders to disperse.

Members of the KZN Landless People’s Movement (LPM) were calling for Finance and Economic Development MEC Zweli Mkhize to listen to their demands. LPM spokesman Jabulani Hadebe said LPM members will not vote today.

“The government has ignored us, treating us like second-class citizens, but they remember us as South Africans when it’s election time.”

Hadebe said the protesters were from Greytown, Newcastle, Impendle, Dannhauser and Howick.

The protest was to get the attention of the ruling party.

“If they are serious about our vote, Mkhize should come and listen to our grievances, otherwise we will sit here and not vote.”

Employees at the Hoosen Haffajee Street Land Affairs offices could not leave or enter the building as the 30 women and 30 men protested.

Police officers arrived to disperse the crowd. SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said negotiations between the police and the crowd were unsuccessful and the protesters were about to enter the premises.

“After numerous requests for the group to disperse, police arrested all 60 people and charged them for staging an illegal gathering on a street with the intention of causing an obstruction, as well as for refusing to disperse.”

All were released on summons with an option to pay an admission of guilt fine of R100.

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