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Hangberg man’s court case postponed for 27th time

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“The court has become like my other job”, says Santonio Jonkers

Photo of Santonio Jonkers
Santonio Jonkers appeared in court today for the 27th time. Photo: Ashleigh Furlong
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Santonio Jonkers has appeared in court 27 times since his violent arrest in Hangberg two years ago. Today the case was again postponed.

When Jonkers was arrested in September 2014 by an elite squad of police officers who allegedly dragged a naked Jonkers by his dreadlocks through fynbos, he was living in an area of Hangberg called Die Sloot, which is under the custody of SANParks and is part of the Sentinel’s firebreak.

In September 2010 an interim interdict was granted preventing new homes being built in the area. The interdict was made final in November 2011. A list of residents who had been living there before the interdict was drawn up and this was included with the court order. These people were meant to be moved to vacant land in the area.

Jonkers claims that he built his home in February 2010, a claim which the state has previously denied. The state argues that aerial photos show that Jonkers’ structure was only built after the interdict was granted.

The hearing was postponed again today in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court as the state’s witnesses were not available.

Asked when he expected the case to be wrapped up, Jonkers laughed. He said he had lost count of the number of times that he has appeared in court.

“I feel trapped, I can’t go anywhere. The court has become like my other job,” Jonkers told GroundUp. He said he could not keep a permanent job as many employers would not allow an employee to regularly take off time for a court case. With his partner expecting their second child, the long hours spent waiting in court instead of at work were a concern, he said.

Jonkers’ lawyer Monique Carsten told GroundUp that she had “never seen a case like this” as after a year of court appearances, the state has only brought forward two witnesses.

She is also representing a number of people from Hangberg who were evicted. She hopes that they will be able to join together to form a civil case.

When Jonkers was arrested in 2014 by 18 officers in the early hours of the morning, his partner Tania Fortuin and their seven-year-old son Liam looked on. Jonkers said there were also other witnesses to the arrest, and CCTV footage, though that had since disappeared, he said. “There was a video, but the people all of a sudden said that they don’t have it.”

Following his arrest, Jonkers opened a case against the police, which was forwarded to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID). Jonkers said the IPID investigation was continuing but he wanted his court case to be over before he focused on the case against the police.

He is to appear in court again tomorrow.

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TOPICS:  Court

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