Hermanus public violence accused still in custody

2018-04-10 19:37
Community members in Hermanus (Jenni Evans, News24)

Community members in Hermanus (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Thirty-eight people who face public violence charges related to protests that followed an attempted land claim in Hermanus last month, are back in custody after the local Magistrate's Court ran out of time to finalise their bail applications on Tuesday.

"I am rolling this case until tomorrow," Magistrate Jeremy Maarman said to the first group of 11.

After that group left, the remaining 29 filed in and stood shoulder to shoulder in the front of the court.

Charges were dropped against two of them and the bail application of the remaining 27 was postponed to April 12.

Members of the community who waited for them outside of the court, were annoyed by the news.

They marched back to Zwelihle down Main Road, while police kept a monitoring distance.

The cases were postponed because additional staff, brought in to help with interpretation and the processing of the accused, caused proceedings to start late.

A Xhosa interpreter arrived late because she was needed at another case in Strand.

The SA Human Rights Commission's Chris Nissen was available to help as community leaders told the families of the accused how to prepare for a bail application.

Community leader Sicelo Gxamesi said they had vowed that nobody would go to work in Hermanus until all of the accused were released.

"There will be no work until all these guys are released."

He said the people outside the court had arrived to support those in custody.

"We started this together," Gxamesi added.

The community, however, later agreed to change their stance and return to work.

Hermanus on edge as land protesters appear in court

Eleven out of 40 people arrested in protests after a thwarted "land grab" appeared in the Hermanus Magistrate's Court on Tuesday after being charged with public violence.

Gxamesi said he happened to be an ANC member, but that the bid for land for the building of houses was backed by the community, regardless of their politics.

Many people have laid the blame for the land bid at the door of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) after the party successfully introduced an amended motion for Parliament to consider amending the law to allow land expropriation without compensation.

The court's gates were locked for the appearance of the two groups and access was limited to relatives of the accused and some community leaders.

Other supporters waited in the cold outside and sang songs.

Protests erupted in Hermanus on March 22. Shops had been looted, a satellite police station gutted, a library damaged and a waste centre set alight.

On Tuesday, March 27, Western Cape Human Settlements Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela met community representatives at the municipal offices and acknowledged that there were problems with the housing list.

He suggested that it be audited and that the backyarders form a committee to set out grievances and produce what they regard as an accurate list of beneficiaries so that it can be compared with the Overstrand Municipality's list.

He also said a portion of land had been identified for the building of houses for the community, but only after service and utility lines had been installed.

He would not say where it was located because he wanted to prevent a chaotic rush for the land.

Read more on:    cape town  |  courts  |  land

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