CAX: Victory against police xenophobia and harassment of immigrants

Victory against police xenophobia and harassment of immigrants

20th March 2009

On Wednesday 18th March, Congolese immigrant to South Africa and Coalition Against Xenophobia (CAX) activist and founding member Pastor Mulumba appeared for the second time at the Hillbrow Magistrates Court on charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. The more serious charge of attempting to steal a police firearm having been dropped at his previous appearance.

As was reported in our 20th February 2009 Press Statement titled ‘CAX launches Campaign Against Police Xenophobia and Harassment of Immigrants’ (see, the CAX believes that comrade Pastor Mulumba was being victimised for standing up to the police – who detained him illegally, repeatedly beat him while in custody and handcuffed him to a radiator for nearly nine hours – by laying counter-charges against them.

At the hearing on Wednesday the police officers who laid the false charges gave completely contradictory ‘testimony’ and it was clear that there was indeed no case and that the charges were a complete fabrication. The Judge indicated in no uncertain terms that there was little substance to the charges, besides the fact that no real ‘evidence’ was presented. The charges were withdrawn – a small but important victory for immigrants to South Africa, who are so often the victims of discrimination and harassment at the hands of the police yet so seldom see justice.

The case against the police for assault etc. will be pursued by Pastor Mulumba as will a civil suit for compensation, and the CAX will continue to struggle against xenophobia, discrimination and police harassment and abuse of immigrants.

This victory for Pastor Mulumba and therefore the CAX and immigrants everywhere shows us that, united, we can stand up to police harassment and injustice and win. We hope that this will serve as an example to others who have been victimised by the police to stand up for their rights. We therefore appeal to anyone who has had similar experiences or would like to help us in defending the rights of immigrants to join us in our campaign against police xenophobia and harassment of immigrants and for freedom, equality and social justice for all.

For comment contact:

Steve Faulkner on 082 817-5455
Chichi Richard on 083 966-0627