Carl Niehaus arrested for breaking lockdown regulations
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Johannesburg - Suspended MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus was arrested by heavily armed police officers stationed outside Estcourt prison while he was doing a live TV interview on Thursday.
Police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo confirmed that members of the police arrested “a prominent political figure for allegedly breaking the Lockdown Regulations”.
“The 61 year old man is alleged to have convened a gathering of approximately 100 people outside the Estcourt prison at about 4pm this afternoon. The Disaster Management Act Regulations clearly outlines gatherings are prohibited, except for funerals where not more than 50 people are allowed to attend. The suspect was initially warned about the gathering and he was subsequently arrested after ignoring the warning. He is currently in police custody likely to face charges in terms of the DMA Regulations. This arrest should be a warning to potential law-breakers that contravention of the Lockdown Regulations especially amidst the ever- increasing Covid-19 virus will not be tolerated,” Naidoo said.
Before his dramatic arrest, Niehaus addressed a small group of ANC supporters coming to show solidarity with former President Jacob Zuma, who has started serving his 15-month imprisonment at the Estcourt Prison.
Other than coming to show solidarity with Zuma, Niehaus and Nkosentsha Shezi of RET Champions were in the area to launch #FreeJacobZuma campaign, a nationwide campaign aimed at forcing authorities to release Zuma.
While addressing the small group of supporters shortly before his arrest, Niehaus encouraged the group not to stop fighting for the former President’s release.
“We are not going to give up. We are going to continue to mobilise. We are going to continue to work to mobilise our people to bring justice in our country,” he said.
He told the supporters that they were not just fighting for justice for Zuma, but also for others within the movement such as suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
“Under apartheid we heard about people being silenced and banned and banished. This is the same thing happening now,” Niehaus said.
Niehaus has allegedly been taken to a local police station in Estcourt where he is expected to be charged.
Niehaus was suspended by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) with immediate effect on Wednesday.
The ANC confirmed the suspension after a letter from ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said Niehaus’ utterances at Nkandla over the weekend brought the party into disrepute and, therefore, the party had decided to suspend his membership.
“The NEC has noted with concern your inflammatory speeches made outside the home of former president Jacob Zuma at Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal, over the weekend of July 2 to 4, 2021, and which were broadcast live on national television, and has come to the conclusion that such utterances brought the ANC into disrepute.
“Moreover, you were clad in a T-shirt bearing the ANC logo when you appeared on television,” Duarte said.
Niehaus later said he would challenge his suspension.