‘Poo protesters’ acquitted of all charges

Cape Town - Seven “ringleaders” of a plot to dump human waste at the Western Cape legislature were acquitted by the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

Andile Lili. File photo: Jason Boud. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Andile Lili, Mzwithemba Victor Gulwa, Yadani Kulanti, Thembela Mbanjwa, Xoliswa Ngwekazi, Yanga Mlingwana and Phamela Nyakaza appeared before Magistrate Jasthree Steyn.

Steyn found that although the seven chose not to testify in their own defence, the State provided insufficient evidence to prove their guilt on all charges.

Lili and his co-accused punched their fists in the air when they were acquitted. A packed public gallery of supporters cheered and sang while a smiling Steyn watched on.

The seven were charged with contravening a municipal by-law dictating the proper removal of human waste. The alternative charges related to conspiring or inciting under the Riotous Assemblies Act.

The seven were arrested with 176 protesters who disembarked from two carriages at the Esplanade train station in Woodstock last June.

Several people had allegedly been carrying portable flush toilets and singing freedom songs, which included a reference to Western Cape premier Helen Zille as a dog.

Some carried the human waste in blue municipal bags carried in milk crates.

Lili identified himself to a warrant officer who asked him what they were doing at the station. Apparently Lili had said they were on their way to Cape Town to throw faeces at the provincial legislature.

Charges were later withdrawn against the 176 protesters. - Sapa