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Cape Town - Well-known busker Lunga Goodman Nono can play his guitar without the threat of court action after charges against him and his wife, Abigail Nono, were withdrawn on Tuesday.
Nono, 51, was forcibly removed in July from his busking spot since 2008 on the corner of St George’s Mall and Shortmarket Street in the city centre as his wife wept in terror, sparking a public outcry.
Popular among passers-by, many donated money and guitars to him after his was broken by the officers.
Nono appeared in the Municipal Court for allegedly flouting city by-laws while his wife appeared for allegedly disobeying an instruction from a law enforcement officer.
Initially the city said Nono, who is blind, had ignored “multiple” written and verbal warnings to busk only within prescribed times, and had been abusive to officers, which he denied.
The couple from Delft faced a fine of R1 500 if found guilty, but the prosecutor told the court on Tuesday the city would not go ahead with the case.
The Nonos’ lawyer, Aadil Kirsten, said the charge of noise nuisance was “nonsense”. “The prosecutor didn’t even bother with this case. There is no clear by-law in respect of buskers and hopefully the city will now draft policy to get a clearer set of rules as to how the city should deal with buskers.”
He said the city had been promising to draft policy since the incident involving the Nonos and three officers.
Regarding Mrs Nono’s charge, Kirsten said: “There was no affidavit from an officer saying ‘I’m the one who told Mrs Nono that she must not touch Mr Nono or disobey us’.
“We had no idea what type of instruction she disobeyed. The fact that they didn’t bring that document to court says a lot.”
Outside the court at the City Hall, Nono, a father of two, said although he was pleased with the outcome, he was not entirely satisfied.
“I’m really disappointed that those people (law enforcement) have not come here to answer for their actions. Other than that, I don’t have complaints, I’m playing my guitar and I’m happy,” he said.
Nono’s wife said an official from the city occasionally visited them at the busking spot to check on them.
Three of the six officers involved, suspended by the city in July, remain at home pending the outcome of an investigation, said city director for safety and security Richard Bosman.
“The criminal case laid against our staff by Mr Nono for malicious injury to property was withdrawn by the public prosecutor, acting independently of the City of Cape Town…
“Fines (against Nono) were also withdrawn by the public prosecutor,” Bosman said.