Protesters claim victory in court; leaders chased away

2015-06-25 06:00
Nolwando Yisa, (whithe top), and other residents from Garden City, Mfuleni, outside Blue Downs Magistrate’ s Court where 11 residents appeard, on Friday.

Mbongiseni Maseko

Nolwando Yisa, (whithe top), and other residents from Garden City, Mfuleni, outside Blue Downs Magistrate’ s Court where 11 residents appeard, on Friday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni Maseko

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Thirteen residents of Garden City in Mfuleni, who, with their leaders, were arrested on charges of damage to property were released after their case was collectively withdrawn by Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court.

The residents and their leaders were arrested on Thursday and appeared in court on Friday, but the charges against them were set aside.

The other two were arrested for the same charges on Friday, however their cases withdrawn on Monday.

Malibongwe Yisa, chairperson for the community committee, said residents took to the streets amid allegations that an official from the City of Cape Town seemed to be taking sides in a dispute they had with their former leaders-who had fallen out of favour-who were facing accusations of corruption.

The former leaders are accused of illegally selling plots meant for the residents.

The three belonged to the previous committee, which was dissolved after the accusations surfaced.

A case of fraud was opened against the three leaders, who must still face formal charges.

Constable Noloyiso Rwexana, Corporate Communication for SAPS Western Cape Media Centre confirmed that a case of malicious damage to property was opened against the residents and that they have since appeared in the court.

However, police could not respond to the claims that they have not investigate the claims made against the three deposed leaders.

The residents are then said to have gone on a rampage, damaging a shack belonging to a live-in girlfriend of one of the three leaders.

The former community leaders, whose names cannot be revealed since they have not appeared in court, are said to have sold plots to over 40 people, some of whom come from Nyanga, Khayelitsha and other townships.

Yisa said: “Some of the buyers have since come forward and admitted to buying the plots, saying they bought them for between R16 000 and R25 000.”

Some said they did not get the plots as promised.

Yisa said an official from the city had told them that the three committee members were still legitimate leaders in the eyes of the council.

“But the residents were not happy about that. That is where the problem started,” Yisa said.

Yisa said the area is now densely populated owing to the scramble for land.

“Now we run out of water, mostly on weekends, because the population here has increased dramatically. What the three did has a dire effect on things here.”

Yisa added that the three leaders have even been chased off the land by the protesters.

“We have already chased them away from the area and we do not want to see them here ever again,” he added.

On Friday, a group of supporters also attended court, to show solidarity for their comrades. Nolwando Yisa said the community was united behind the new committee.

“We do not want them (three leaders) in Mfuleni at all. Our support is with those who are arrested for fighting corruption,” she said. Councillor Themba Honono could not answer questions put to him, saying he was in chambers at the time of the incident

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