Carl Niehaus in court this week over Covid-19 regulations breach
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Durban - Suspended Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association (MKMVA) spokesperson Carl Niehaus is expected to appear in the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court this week, for breaking lockdown regulations outside Estcourt Correction Centre last month.
Niehaus was arrested by heavily armed police officers stationed outside the Estcourt prison while he was doing a live TV interview.
Before his dramatic arrest, Niehaus addressed a small group of ANC supporters coming to show solidarity with former president Jacob Zuma, who had 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 the #FreeJacobZuma campaign.
Niehaus was taken to a police station in Estcourt where he was charged under the Disaster Management Act, for allegedly convening a gathering of approximately 100 people outside the Estcourt prison.
At that time, the Disaster Management Act Regulations clearly outlined gatherings were prohibited, except for funerals where no more than 50 people were allowed to attend.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said Niehaus was initially warned about the gathering. He was arrested after ignoring the warning.
In a statement released by Niehaus’ supporters on Monday, the suspended MKMVA spokesperson is expected to appear at 9am on Wednesday. The statement called for supporters to gather in front of the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court at 8am on Wednesday morning.
“All Covid-19 protocols will be observed. Mobilisation around the appearance of comrade Niehaus is part of the overall mobilisation activities of the #FreeJacobZuma campaign,” read the statement.
It further invited media to cover their “expression of support for comrade Carl Niehaus and continuing mobilisation for the immediate release of President Jacob Zuma”.
Niehaus was suspended by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) with immediate effect in July, following his utterances at Nkandla during Zuma’s arrest. In the suspension letter signed by ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, it noted that Niehaus 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.