‘Cops put supporters in hospital’

Cape Town - Poo protester Andile Lili has threatened to sue police after they “put his supporters in hospital” when a riot erupted outside the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

He was one of four arrested for public violence during a clash with cops that saw police use a water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the angry crowd.

Loyiso Nkohla sings outside Bellville Magistrate's Court with SesKhona members. He, fellow leader Andile Lili and seven others are accused of dumping faeces at Cape Town International Airport. Photo: Cindy Waxa. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Metro EMS spokesman Robert Daniels said eight people had been injured during the riot.

On Wednesday, the trial, in which Lili and eight others face charges of dumping faeces at Cape Town International Airport, was pushed back as he faced even more charges relating to the riot.

The Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement leader allegedly fought with police during a scuffle. He was released on R1 000 bail along with the three others for Tuesday’s incident.

He told the crowd of supporters that had gathered outside on Wednesday morning that “he would win this trial just like every other”.

Despite having seen out two trials over the course of the past two months, he still faces a laundry list of litigation linking to protest action last year.

While supporters had previously gathered in their droves, the numbers paled in comparison to Tuesday as marchers filled the road outside the court building.

Not taking any chances on Wednesday, police - clothed in full riot gear and armed with stun grenades and guns - formed a protective barrier around the court as supporters sang and danced. Flanked by police and supporters, Lili said his organisation had been the victim of “police brutality” on Tuesday.

“Some were injured, some were crushed by cars. We have asked every one of them to hold on to their doctors’ certificates because our lawyers are busy putting together a case against the SAPS,” he shouted over a megaphone.

He added that police had provoked the violent reaction from supporters.

When the trial began at 11am, Lili and his eight co-accused, including fellow leader Loyiso Nkohla, filed into the dock.

Three witnesses were cross-examined, including Roberto Isaacs, a manager from the city’s environmental department.

When asked whether bucket toilets that had not been emptied for over two months presented a health risk, which Ses’Khona claims happened in the Barcelona township, Isaacs said: “Yes, exposure to overflowing buckets is a health risk.”

As Lili’s lawyer, Pearl Mathibela, questioned Isaacs, it quickly became clear that Ses’Khona’s argument would be that they “had no other choice” but to do what they did at the airport.

It was something Lili confirmed outside court, saying they had tried all the official channels but nothing had been done by the city to resolve the problem.

The trial was due to resume on Thursday morning and wrap up next Thursday.