Sowetan: Celebrations as shack dwellers get bail

Celebrations as shack dwellers get bail
13 July 2010
Canaan Mdletshe

THERE were joyous celebrations outside the Durban high court yesterday morning after five Kennedy Road settlement residents were granted bail.

The five, Studo Goyi, Zandisile Nqotshane, Khaliphile Jali, Samkelisiwe Mkhokhelo and Scelo Mambi, have been held at the Durban Westville Prison since their arrest in September last year.

Initially 12 members of Abahlali Basemjondolo Movement (ABM) were detained, but seven were released on R5000 bail each in November last year.

The shack dwellers had been arrested in connection with violence that erupted at Kennedy Road on September 26 last year, which resulted in two people being killed, 30 houses burnt, property looted and some residents chased out.

ABM leader S’bu Zikode said they were excited about their members being granted bail after spending 10 months in prison.

The trial was expected to resume yesterday, but it was adjourned because some of the witnesses had been victims of shack fires that ravaged Kennedy Road settlement last Sunday.

“We have been vindicated by the court’s ruling since it was clearly stated that it was unconstitutional to detain people for such a long time without trial,” Zikode said.

He said the fact that the five had not been brought to court yesterday was a clear indication of “political interference”.

Zikode said they took solace in the court’s ruling that yesterday’s adjournment was final.

“We will now receive a fair trial as the Constitution says,” he said.

Though they were not present, the five shack dwellers were granted R1000 bail each.

The court said they would appear today to hear the bail conditions.