TAC's Zackie Achmat arrested in Cape Town

2013-09-12 15:28

Cape Town - Treatment Action Campaign founder Zackie Achmat and 18 Social Justice Coalition (SJC) activists were arrested for illegally gathering outside the Cape Town civic centre, an SJC official said on Thursday.

SJC general secretary Phumeza Mlungwana, one of those arrested, said they chained themselves to railings on Wednesday morning because of frustration over sanitation provision in Khayelitsha.

She said there had been many memorandums, meetings and lawyer's letters to the city in the past two years regarding clarification on how a sanitation policy would be implemented.

The city recently introduced a janitorial service to informal settlements, which the SJC welcomed.

Mlungwana said it was, however, important for those who lived in the area to be included in all plans so they could understand how to assist with monitoring the service.

"They should be able to set priorities because they are beneficiaries of the project."

She said the relationship with the city had recently deteriorated because of a lack of communication.

"Our membership felt we needed to take some action and that action was urgent... We tried to engage within the framework of the law, but clearly we have a different understanding of how this process should go," she said.

'Publicity stunt'

"The idea was actually that, if we were there, maybe she [Mayor Patricia de Lille] might find time to meet with us."

Cape Town utility services councillor Ernest Sonnenberg called the protest an "obvious publicity stunt".

"The city has had extensive engagements with the SJC over the last two years - this as a result of a genuine desire to co-operate wherever possible," he said.

"The executive mayor has provided two possible dates for a meeting to discuss their latest demands, but they have yet to respond. It is therefore puzzling that they state that the mayor is unwilling to engage."

Mlungwana said they were told in July that October was the first available date for a meeting but that the SJC believed it was too late for such an urgent matter.

They chained themselves because they knew they would be chased away without speaking to De Lille. Some members then left with the keys to the lock.

Police and the mayoral committee safety unit warned the activists to leave or be arrested for an illegal gathering.

The group told police that while they respected their position, they would not move.

The chains were cut, the group was arrested, and taken to Cape Town central police station.

Mlungwana said they were held for 10 hours and released on warning after 22:00.

Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed 19 people, aged 18 to 51, were arrested.

"The circumstances surrounding the matter are under investigation and the arrested persons will be charged in due course, whereafter they are expected to appear in court.

"The identities of those who were arrested are not disclosed."

Sonnenberg said the city employed 800 trained cleaners to clean toilets in informal settlements.

"There will always be management challenges in a programme of this nature, and the city has sought to respond to these as they arise."

He said that while the city acted in good faith discussing the roll-out of the janitor service, it was not an SJC-led initiative.

"It is disappointing that the SJC resorted to an obvious gimmick to create publicity, instead of sincerely engaging with the city, as we have always done with them."

Those arrested are expected to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on 18 September.

  • FJ Cele - 2013-09-12 15:36

    Work buy your own house with a luxury toilet. If you get a toilet for free stop complaining, its allot better than the rest of the country. Stop attacking the DA - because you will get a lot worse.

      Cameron Renovatio Hart - 2013-09-12 16:20

      From my own experiences of the man, he is a individual with an agenda, his apartheid era fighting/activism is gone, and he is lagging behind in the times. If he isn't ranting about so called apartheid Israel which i have proved him wrong on many occasions and he has not once countered any of my facts/arguments posed, he is out working on behalf of the ANC creating more trouble in impoverished areas.

      Jerhone Swanepoel - 2013-09-12 16:35

      what do you expect from a slams they are fence sitters will always side with the one's who control the money and they will always give you a pap snoek handshake when you greet them

      Helen Kasfikis - 2013-09-12 17:18

      Thabang, Jan van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape in 1652. "400 years of formal white supremecy" would indicate that we are now in the year 2052 at least. I stopped reading your diatribe after that sentence. Don't produce incorrect facts/statistics with glaring errors and expect to be taken seriously.

      Cameron Renovatio Hart - 2013-09-12 19:03

      @Thabang, stop feeling sorry for yourself and go and work for what you want, that is what thousands of other black people have done to overcome the injustices of the past. But you don't see them making excuses for themselves. They proudly say that they have achieved something and contributed to the country and economy. Not pull every single page out of history as to why they can't or are too lazy to achieve anything.

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2013-09-12 19:04

      @Thabang Bonang - Racist crap.

  • Christopher Mark V Lowe - 2013-09-12 15:48

    Typical Achmat publicity stunt. Pffftt!

  • manqoba.zulu.54 - 2013-09-12 15:49

    You won't expect such news coming from cape town, well done to this group, for managing to force the media to talk about the other side of cape town that we don't get told about,

      Neil White - 2013-09-12 15:58

      you lot always look for the negative. you point out the few problems in a DA stronghold but fail to see how the ANC areas are an absolute mess. Cape Town resembles a 1st world city when you compare it to the rest of the country

      Jerhone Swanepoel - 2013-09-12 16:38

      how many areas in ANC country have toilets?

      Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2013-09-12 19:06

      So manqoba.zulu.54 - Tell me, why do so many Eastern Capers come to the Western Cape? Have you ever been to the Western Cape? No? No!

  • Bongani Nsele - 2013-09-12 15:58

    it makes you wonder what would be hidden from the public eye if the DA were to come to power, they are damn good at sidestepping, pretending and avoiding really issues that's why now they are suffering now ethically

      Patricia Dewet - 2013-09-12 17:45

      Problem solved, send the flood back to the Eastern Cape from where they came. No need for extra toilets. Why do the City have to built toilets for individuals, the can built shacks overnight, so what about a toilet.

      Joey Marabas - 2013-09-12 17:52

      No they are not. I believe that YOU would would like them to suffer, probably because they are embarrassing CancER with all that delivering to the people going on. No-one can believe a word this Achmat guy says anyway. He promised to leave CancER if Zoom Zoom was reelected to party president, because HE said Zuma is morally indefensible while referring to Shaik going to jail (even though it was only for about a day or two) for his AND Zuma's corrupt relationship and then Zuma goes even further and steals some more, two hundred million rand(R205 million) from the people of South Africa. This guys word means NOTHING!

  • Lydon Daniel McGrane - 2013-09-12 16:02

    They were told in July that they would need to wait until October to meet with the Mayor and they waited until half way through September to protest that fact? How dumb.

  • precious.yumyum - 2013-09-12 16:14

    The poo wars continue!

  • Kuno Tschumi - 2013-09-12 16:16

    sanitation policy... it is rather very simple.... if you want or need to crap build your own toilet like we all have to do. stop waiting for handouts.

  • Simon Ramapuputla - 2013-09-12 17:19

    What happenend, the DA wheels are coming down each day.

  • Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg - 2013-09-12 17:25

    They did choose a day when it wasn't raining!!!!.

  • Lwandile Mabusela - 2013-09-12 18:00

    Let's be honest here the DA is under siege in the WC reason being it is led by a white person. I find it difficult to understand why would Achmat choose WC instead of EC but then he is a member of the ANC. If the WC is not properly run, then the EC is worse because most of the people who live in squater camps there come from EC. What sence does it make to protest in WC and not EC?

  • DezLee - 2013-09-12 18:03

    Lol helen! Typical response...One typo or miscalculation nullifies everything else. News24 commenters crack me up.

  • Armstrong Dreadnaught - 2013-09-12 19:00

    @Zachie Achmat - Sorry to say this but I have lost all respect for you. BTW, have you resigned from the anc as you promised "I'll leave ANC if Zuma re-elected"? This dishonest action (CT has out performed all other cities) is an anc gimmick, are you still a member of the anc? Yes/No?

  • Bettie Nieuwoudt - 2013-09-12 19:21

    @Thabang Bonang - you got a problem dearest - you need serious help!

  • Johan Diedericks - 2013-09-12 19:23

    Stoop so low in joining Zuma`s sh*t brigade.

  • Rhoda Kadalie - 2013-09-13 00:08

    Limelight hog. Tackie Achmat. Never marches in ANC controlled provinces because his shock troopers are here.

  • Adrian Kay - 2013-09-13 01:16

    I can understand that some people might disagree with Zackie Achmat's stance (and actions) but surely there's no need to insult him personally? We really need to tone down some of the incendiary stuff on the web esp. wrt SA politics/race relations

  • Matlhaba Bushupeng - 2013-09-13 07:11

    Zachie is trying to redeem himself ,after his loud mouth over Zuma .now he leave all provinces that failed the people and target that which is trying .

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