Category Archives: The Zakheleni 18

DLF: Bheki Buthelezi Appears in Court Today & 18 Other UPM Activists Arrested for Public Violence

Democratic Left Front
25 June 2012


The Democratic Left Front (DLF) calls for solidarity with Bheki Buthelezi
and 18 others, some of whom are members of the Unemployed People’s Movement
(UPM), when they appear at 09h00 at the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court.
Buthelezi will face charges of intimidation. The others were arrested
around 11pm on Saturday evening ostensibly on charges of public violence. Some
of the 18 have been involved in community protests over service delivery
while others have not. Buthelezi was released from police custody on
Saturday evening after sustained community occupation and pressure on the
Umlazi Police Station Commander. Abahlali BaseMijondolo, the South Durban
Community Environment Alliance, the KZN Right To Know Campaign, the
Clairwood Community Forum, the Durban Social Forum and the DLF will all
join the 19 comrades and the local community at the court this morning.

All these charges relate to sustained mass action by the community of
Section S in Umlazi (Ward 88, eThekwini Municipality). This community has
suffered for more than 6 years at the hands of unaccountable ANC councilors
and a local municipality that has failed to deliver services and provide
employment through local economic development. On more than three
occasions, the community has demanded that the municipality must recall
councillor Nomzamo Mkhize as she has not fulfilled her duties including a
failure to call a single ward meeting to discuss community issues. Instead,
she has worked on a factional basis selecting who to meet with in the
community and she has ignored several community calls and requests for
meetings. The municipality has failed to provide electricity, water,
sanitation, housing and paving. The community has also demanded that the
municipality must call a ward general meeting where it must be transparent
about, and allow for bottom-up community participation in the municipal
budget and development plans. The community has also demanded that the old
Airport space be allocated for food sovereignty and housing. The community
has done everything to ensure that these demands are heard. But at every
instance the local municipality has equivocated and responded with
increasing repression. It was at this point that the community decided on
the peaceful occupation of local municipal offices that the police were
activated to arrest Buthelezi first and then the other 18 activists. What
more must the community do to live decently as promised by the South
African Constitution?

The DLF reiterates its call for the dropping of the charges against
Buthelezi and the 18. The police have no evidence against any of them. In
fact, the charges are instigated by repressive intentions given the
sustained mass struggles in the community. The DLF calls on the South
African Human Rights Commission to investigate the police violations of the
rights to protest by using the arrest of community activists.



Bheki Buthelezi (UPM & DLF) – 072 639 9893

Mazibuko K. Jara (DLF) – 083 651 0271

Athish Kirun (DLF) – 078 257 3764

Ayanda Kota (UPM & DLF) – 078 625 6462

Mnikelo Ndabankulu (AbM) – 081 309 5485

China Ngubane (DLF & Right to Know Campaign) – 072 651 9790

Charges Against Bheki Buthelezi Withdrawn & the Zakheleni 18 Released

25 June 2012
Abahlali baseMjondolo & Unemployed People's Movement Press Statement

Charges Against Bheki Buthelezi Withdrawn & the Zakheleni 18 Released

Today all charges against Bheki Buthelezi were dropped and the Zakheleni 18 were released on free bail at the Umlazi Magistrate's Court. It is clear that the arrest of the 18 was politically engineered. The arrestees clearly stated in court that they don’t know the reason why they were arrested. As the magistrate asked them why they were arrested they said they had no idea and that they were just having drinks with friends on a Saturday evening when the police simply came and arrested them. The 18 were released on free bail with the understanding that the police have no evidence against any of the accused, that they were not involved in any violence and they are all poor and unemployed.

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