Poo carriers found not guilty

| Pharie Sefali
Ses’khona leaders Andile Lili and Loyiso Nkohla after their acquittal in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court today. Photo by Pharie Sefali.

Hundreds of Ses’khona members sang victory songs today as their leaders walked out of the Cape Town Magistrate court free.

Andile Lili, Mzwithemba Victor Gulwa, Yadani Kulanti, Thembela Mbanjwa, Xoliswa Ngwekazi, Yanga Mlingwana and Phamela Nyakaza, all members of Ses’khona, faced a charge of breaking a municipal by-law on the transport of human waste and two charges of conspiring against the government and holding an illegal gathering on the train.

They were arrested with 176 others at the Esplanade train station in Woodstock on their way from Khayelitsha carrying pota pota toilets and plastic bags full of human waste, heading to the provincial offices. Charges were later withdrawn against the 176 others.

Magistrate Jasthree Steyn found the accused not guilty of all charges brought against them.

Ses’khona members claimed that they were on their way to throw the waste in the toilets of the provincial administration. They said the community had waited for six months for the waste to be collected.

Steyn said the state had not produced sufficient evidence against the seven accused and the state witnesses were not competent and their statements did not match.

One witness had made a statement which was different from his testimony, the magistrate said.

He said the only valid evidence of what had happened in the train was the pictures produced in court by the state.

He also said that in one of the statements it had been mentioned that two of the state witnesses had been seen dancing and singing with the members of Ses’khona during the event in the train.

Ses’khona founder Andile Lili shouted to the crowd “Ses’khona is alive”.

He said Ses’khona would sue the City of Cape Town if there was no apology to the Khayelitsha community and to Ses’khona “within seven days” .

Supporters sang a song in Xhosa directed to Premier Helen Zille: “What did we do to you Zille? But we do not care.”

“We were victorious today because Ses’khona is the people’s movement and Helen Zille should notice that”, Lili said.

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TOPICS:  Health Sanitation

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