Case against poo protesters politically motivated, court hears

2015-10-02 19:21
Andile Lili (Picture: Tammy Petersen, News24)

Andile Lili (Picture: Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The case against four Ses’khona People's Rights Movement members accused of dumping human waste on the doorstep of the Western Cape legislature was politically motivated, a court heard on Friday.

Andile Lili, Loyiso Nkohla, Thembela Mbanjwa and Songezo Mvandaba appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court for contravening the National Environment Management Waste Act after they dumped buckets of human faeces on the steps of the legislature’s Wale Street building two years ago.

Duncan Korabie, for the defence, said he believed the charges were "trumped up" by provincial government as both Lili and Nkohla were known ANC figures.

"Political squabbles can't be fought in court. It must be settled in Parliament," he said.

Korabie further argued that statements were taken in the accused's mother tongue and translated into English, leading to inaccuracies as it was interpreted by the investigating officer and not an interpreter.

He further pointed out that there had been no complainant in the matter. He went on to say that no one had been injured by the alleged dumping of waste, which could not be proven anyway as the substance had not been presented as evidence in court.

The men are accused of dumping the faeces on the doorsteps of the provincial legislature in June 2013 in protest against poor sanitation in Makhaza and other informal settlements.

Prosecutor Leon Snyman told the court the State would settle for a conviction on a lesser charge of littering, as the National Environment Management Waste Act applied to waste management service providers and not individuals.

"They may say they acted in the interest of the community. But even if you are frustrated, you cannot take the law into your own hands," he said.

Judgment will be handed down on November 13.

Nine Ses'khona members, including Lili and Nkohla, were in August sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for five years, for dumping faeces at Cape Town International Airport two years ago.

The faeces were collected from communal toilets in areas such as Gugulethu and Khayelitsha as a labour dispute resulted in the ablution facilities not being emptied for three months.

The nine accused were found guilty of contravening the Civil Aviation Act earlier this year.

Read more on:    andile lili  |  cape town  |  crime  |  protests

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