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Poo protesters want an apology

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Andile Lili. File photo: Jason Boud

Cape Town - Western Cape premier Helen Zille must apologise to those she has “targeted” in poo-throwing campaigns, Ses'Khona People's Rights Movement leader Andile Lili said on Wednesday.

“Within seven days, Helen Zille must go public and apologise to Ses'Khona as well as apologise to the informal settlements of Cape Town,” he told a crowd outside the Cape Town Magistrate's Court.

“There is nothing wrong that Ses'Khona has done other than to fight for the rights of the people. They have to clear their name.”

Lili said he would sue Zille if she did not apologise but did not specify the exact basis of the legal action.

He was speaking after he and six co-accused were acquitted on Wednesday of plotting to dump human waste at the Western Cape legislature.

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 had provided insufficient evidence to prove their culpability on all charges.

He said the prosecution had been a “futile exercise”, made worse by the numerous inconsistencies in the testimonies of four police witnesses.

Lili and his co-accused punched their fists in the air when they were acquitted.

A packed public gallery of supporters shouted “Amandla”, and sang while a smiling Steyn watched them leave his courtroom.

The seven were charged with contravening a municipal bylaw 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 Zille as a dog.

Some carried human waste in blue municipal bags contained 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Charges were later withdrawn against the 176 protesters.

Outside the court building, around 150 supporters gathered peacefully under the watchful eye of public order police vans.

They embraced Lili as he informed them of the outcome.

“The judgment is in our favour. That means we are the winners. The city of Cape Town, the provincial goverment, they are the losers,” Lili said before being drowned out by the sound of vuvuzelas.

Sapa


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