13 arrested during protests

Aaqib Benjamin, 25, from Lentegeur, hugs his mother after a charge of public violence against him was withdrawn on Friday May 4.

Nine men from Mitchell’s Plain and one woman and three men from Isiqalo informal settlement were arrested by SAPS’ Public Order Police (POP) unit in two separate protests along Jakes Gerwel Drive, between the R300 and Highlands Drive, on Wednesday May 2.

According to the charge sheet, Aaqib Benjamin, 25, from Lentegeur, Igshaan Beckitt, 48, from Tafelsig; Zain Sasman, 52, from Rondevlei; Lance Cain, 27, from Colorado Park; Sharief Chowglay, 48, from New Woodlands; Keenan Flowers, 18, from Wildwood; Zubair Edwards, 18, from Rondevlei; Sulyman Stellenboom, 55, from Tafelsig; and Desmond Reynolds, (whose age could not be confirmed) from Lentegeur, were charged with public violence and disturbing the peace and appeared in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Friday May 4.

The case was withdrawn against Mr Benjamin.

Constable Shaun Abrahams, Lentegeur police spokesman, told the Plainsman yesterday, Tuesday May 15, that Mr Benjamin was arrested on a charge of being in possession of illegal ammunition.

However, in response to a media enquiry, Eric Ntabazalila, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, confirmed that the charges against Mr Benjamin were withdrawn because there was no evidence linking him to the charge.

Isiqalo informal settlement residents Noxolo Tutela, 27, Asiphe Majija, 26, Robert Loyiso, 34, and Litha Magadla, 36, who were also arrested on Wednesday May 2 appeared in the same court and on the same day but their details were on a separate charge sheet on Friday May 4. All of the 12 accused were released and warned to be back in court on Monday June 25.

Hundreds of informal settlement residents took to the streets late on the night of Tuesday May 1, demanding service delivery from the City of Cape Town. The protest became violent, including shooting, the burning of tyres, damage to a nearby ATM and petrol station and the razing of a fruit and vegetable stall near Isiqalo, and continued into Wednesday morning (‘Isiqalo”, “Committee to seek solutions for Isiqalo”, “March planned for hit-and-run victim”, “20-year-old fruit stall razed”, “Residents describe life inside Isiqalo settlement”, Plainsman, May 9).

Traffic services closed off sections of Jakes Gerwel Drive and the roads leading into it, for several hours, on Wednesday May 2, causing severe traffic congestion in and out of Mitchell’s Plain.

Mitchell’s Plain residents then took to the streets on Wednesday night, May 2, saying they had had enough of being kept from getting to work and school during protests by Isiqalo residents.