By Loushe Jordaan
The Mitchell’s Plain magistrates court was packed this morning as eight protesters arrested for public violence appeared in court. They were arrested during a mass demonstration by Mitchell’s Plain residents on Jakes Gerwel and Highlands drive on Wednesday night. The protest was held in response to a violent service delivery protest by Siqalo residents the night before, which resulted in the torching of a fuel station, ATM and fruit and vegetable vendor. Siqalo protesters also barricaded roads and burnt tyres, causing major disruptions to peak traffic on Wednesday morning. But Siqalo leadership have blamed the violence on criminals taking advantage of their cause.
Following this protest, Mitchells Plain residents came out in their numbers on Wednesday night, with reports of protestors wanting to enter Siqalo informal settlement. Public order police used live rounds and teargas to disperse the crowds, which resulted in a tense standoff with residents.
Edward Arense, a friend of one Mitchells Plain suspect, Soelayman Stellenboom, said Stellenboom was spotted by a police officer who immediately recognised him as a community activist and was immediately arrested based on the assumption that he was at the protest to cause trouble and add “fuel to fire”.
The case has been postponed until 25 June for further investigation. The case against accused Aaqif Benjamin has been dropped.
Outside the Magistrate court, community activist, Marshall Nelson said their aim right now is to get the arrested suspects out of jail. Once they are released, a way forward will be discussed. Nelson said their intentions were never to commit any crime.
“They only wanted to express their frustrations regarding Siqalo residents living on vacant land while Mitchell’s Plain residents are on waiting lists for more than 10 years,” he said.
The case against Mitchells Plain protesters has been postponed for further investigation. The nine men were arrested on Wednesday night following a day of tense standoff’s between Siqalo protesters and Mitchells Plain residents. Eight of the accused are to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrates Court at 08h30 on 25 June in Courtroom 3. The case against accused Aaqif Benjamin has been dropped. The state had no objections to the release of eight of the accused. If they are involved in public violence their release will be retracted.
Posted by Voice of the Cape Radio – VOC on Friday, 4 May 2018
Nelson says they wish to meet with leaders once more to discuss a way forward in hopes of finding a way that would benefit both Mitchell’s Plain residents and Siqalo residents.
The state had no objections to the release of eight of the accused. If they are involved in public violence their release with be retracted. VOC