Komatipoort - Mpumalanga police arrested three people because they were violent and showed “no respect” during a protest in February, the Tonga Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.
This was the testimony of Warrant Officer Patrick Madala Mhlongo of the Hazyview public order police, a Sapa correspondent reported.
He told the court the protest in Masibekela Trust near the Mananga border along the R571 road on February 20, 2013, involved about 600 residents.
“We found people close to 600 singing protest songs, burning tyres and barricading the tarred road with huge tree branches and big rocks,” Mhlongo said.
“As a section leader of a group of six police officers I personally arrested the two women after I saw them holding burning tyres and running in a circle towards our direction while we were in full uniform and driving marked police vehicles, which showed no respect.”
Mhlongo was testifying in the trial of France Nkumba, 29, and siblings Siphiwe, 22, and Phindile Masuku, 25, who face charges of public violence.
Sergeant Simanga Michael Kubhayi testified that he arrested Nkumba.
“I noticed him rolling or pushing a huge rock on the barricaded and burning road.
“After my leader WO Mhlongo told us to arrest the protesting people I quickly ran to arrest Nkumba,” said Kubhayi.
“While I was standing there I already knew those who needed to be arrested, but I was just waiting for my leader to say 'arrest them,” he said.
The protesters are out on bail of R1000 each.
The trial was postponed to April 24.