Case against 19 dismissed

2018-05-17 06:02
The case against 19 suspects charged with public violence, after taking to the N2 in protest of the disconnection of illegal electricity connections, has been dropped. Illegal connections like these in Chris Hani Informal Settlement, are commonplace. PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

The case against 19 suspects charged with public violence, after taking to the N2 in protest of the disconnection of illegal electricity connections, has been dropped. Illegal connections like these in Chris Hani Informal Settlement, are commonplace. PHOTO: mzwanele mkalipi

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Residents of nine informal settlements of Lwandle breathed a sigh of relief when the case against 19 suspects from the area was dismissed in Strand Magistrate’s Court earlier this week.

The suspects were arrested and charged with public violence following a protest on the N2 in September last year.

Irate residents took the busy highway when residents living in formal housing disconnected the illegal electricity connections to their homes, sparking anger which community members vented on the main thoroughfares.

The nine communities comprise Pholile A, TV, Siyanyanzela, Simanyene, Pholile B, New Village, Masakhane and Freedom informal settlements.

Mwezi Lugwali, chairperson of Pholile A, told City Vision outside court on Monday (14 May) that the communities’ wish was granted when the case was dismissed.

“We know that other people here had done nothing and were arrested in their houses,” explained said.

“As the community, we are happy because this is exactly what we were hoping would happen. The arrest came as a result of us moving the protest to the N2, after seeing the snail’s pace at which the issue of the installation of electricity for our communities was being addressed at the time.”

Community leaders will now call a community meeting to alert other residents to the outcome of the court case, Lugwali added.

All 19 suspects had earlier paid R500 bail, which was collected by the various communities.

The affected informal settlements have seen a number of people, including children, dying as a result of the illegal connections. This is just one of the issues that has resulted in residents taking to the streets to demand better service delivery.

The City of Cape Town has since started the electrification of the areas (“Long awaited project starts”, City Vision, 19 April).

It is believed electricity has been installed in some of the affected areas, although its widespread distribution seems to moving slower than residents would like. V Share your views! Starting with the word “news”, SMS your opinion to 36909 at R1 per SMS. Alternatively write us a letter and send it to mzwanele.mkalipi@media24.com before Monday 21 May at 12:00.

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