4 December 2012
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Abahlali baseMjondolo Takes the Minister of Police to Court to Account for Police Repression in Durban
On the 12th of September 2006 S'bu Zikode and Philani Zungu, then the chairperson and deputy chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo, were arrested on their way to a radio interview and subject to severe assault in the Sydenham Police Station. When people in the nearby Kennedy Road shack settlement rallied in support of Zikode and Zungu they were attacked by the police and Nondumiso Mke was shot in her knee with live ammunition. The arrest and assault from police at the hands of the police was highly politicised and followed intimidation from senior politicians that including a warning that the movement must stop its communication with the media. For background to this see the statement online at http://abahlali.org/node/72
The article that was published in the Mail & Guardian after the arrest and assault is online at http://mg.co.za/article/2006-09-16-i-was-punched-beaten
The article that was published in the Sunday Tribune is online at: http://abahlali.org/node/883
There is an Abahlali baseMjondolo statement from 2008 that gives a good overview of the repression that the movement faced in its early years. It is online at http://abahlali.org/node/3249
The statement from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute is below.
For more information please contact:
Mnikelo Ndabankulu: 081 309 5485
Zodwa Nsibande: 071 183 4388
S'bu Zikode: 083 547 0474
4 December 2012
Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa Press Statement
Trial against Minister of Police begins in Durban High Court tomorrow
The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) represents Abahlali baseMjondolo Chairperson Sbu Zikode and two others in a damages claim against the Minister of Police: Mke and Others v Minister of Safety and Security. The trial begins on 5 December 2012 in the Durban High Court.
On 12 September 2006, Sbu Zikode and Philani Zungu were arrested while they were on their way to a radio debate with the MEC for Housing, Mike Mabuyakhulu. Their vehicle was stopped and searched. When Zungu asked why he was being searched, Constable Bhangwadin, of the Sydenham Police Station, told him that “a black man is always a suspect” and started to assault him. Both Zikode and Zungu were arrested and taken to Sydenham Police Station, where they were assaulted again by Superintendent Glen Nayager. The charges against them – “crimen injuria”, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest - were later dropped because the Prosecutor thought them so “trivial” as not to warrant a prosecution.
Upon hearing of Zungu and Zikode’s arrest, members of the Kennedy Road informal settlement community gathered at their community hall. They intended to march to Sydenham Police Station to demand that the two men be released. Before they could do so, the Sydenham police officers dispersed the crowd with live ammunition, tear gas and rubber bullets. Nondumiso Mke, a domestic worker, was shot in the leg while trying to retrieve a cellphone she dropped as she was running away from the police.
SERI, together with Trudie Nichols Attorneys in Durban, is seeking compensation for damage sustained as a result of the attacks on Zikode, Zungu and Mke. The trial will begin on 5 December 2012 in the Durban High Court.