First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Abahlali demands probe into Cato Manor police after new...

South Africa

ACTIVIST ARRESTS

Fresh arrests of Abahlali BaseMjondolo members spark demands for probe into Cato Manor police

Abahlali BaseMjondolo members picketing in Durban against the arrest of local leaders. (Photo: Nokulunga Majola)

Shack-dwellers movement believes criminal justice system is being used to deliberately silence its members.

Leaders of the KwaZulu-Natal shack dweller movement Abahlali BaseMjondolo are accusing the local government of using the criminal justice system to silence its members.

This follows the arrest of three women who are community leaders at eKhenana informal settlement in Cato Manor, Durban, on Friday. The trio face charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. They are alleged to have intervened in a domestic dispute where a woman threw boiling water over her partner who is a migrant worker. According to witnesses who spoke to GroundUp, the incident occurred in 2020 but the woman only opened the case against the three Abahlali members this year. They are due in court on 20 October.

These arrests came just days after the movement announced that it was considering suing the state over what it believes was the wrongful arrest and imprisonment of six members.

GroundUp reported that the state recently withdrew the charges against six Abahlali members accused of serious crimes including murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

On Monday, the chairperson of Abahlali’s Women’s League, the secretary and its youth league leader made their first appearance in the Durban Magistrates Court after being arrested for assault last Friday for an incident that allegedly occurred in June 2020, according to Abahlali BaseMjondolo.

But the police records state that the incident happened this year. Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said, “It is alleged by the complainant that on 2 June 2021 at 6:30pm, she was attacked by known suspects when she attended a meeting at Ashwell Road. Three accused aged between 25 and 38 were arrested.”

The women are to remain in custody until their bid for bail next week. The arrests have spurred outrage from eKhenana residents who accuse the Cato Manor police of harassment.

“While members of our movement were quietly sitting outside the courtroom, they were told that they were ‘intimidating’. Our mere presence as organised poor black people is taken as a threat, as illegitimate, even as criminal.

“We are often denied access to the courts where matters are being heard,” Abahlali said in a statement this week.

Asked if people had been denied access to the courtroom, National Prosecuting Authority’s regional spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said, “The NPA does not have jurisdiction over the court building and therefore cannot comment.”

Chairperson of eKhenana occupation, Lindokuhle Mnguni, said: “We have a rule in the commune that when there is conflict or an altercation between a man and a woman, they are separated and the women speak to the woman and the men do the same to the man to find a solution. In this case, the women intervened and they got into an altercation [with the woman accused of injuring her partner] which resulted in the woman being injured. We haven’t seen her in months and now this?”

Mnguni believes the arrest long after the incident is yet another tactic to intimidate them. “The people who are doing this have their own agenda and want to see this commune destroyed. We know these women. They are good people and wouldn’t go around beating people,” Mnguni said.

“We have lost count of the number of comrades that have appeared in the dock. We can say that in almost all instances, charges were withdrawn before the matters went to trial. In every single instance when a case went to trial, the state failed to secure a conviction, and it has been clear that the charges were a complete frame-up,” Abahlali said.

The movement says it will now write to NPA Director, Advocate Sharmila Bathoyi, to ask her to investigate the Cato Manor police station and the ANC’s relationship with that station and court senior officials. DM

First published by GroundUp.

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted