Ses’khona crowd urged to ‘fight’ cops
Cape Town - Hundreds of Ses’khona People’s Rights Movement followers gathered outside the Western Cape High Court on Monday to protest in favour of the right to protest.
Protest songs resonated through courtroom corridors as the City of Cape Town brought an application for an interdict against Ses’khona leaders and the organisation in a bid to stop them organising future protests.
Before court proceedings started, leader Loyiso Nkohla stood on the court steps and told the large crowd, all wearing yellow Ses’khona T-shirts, to continue singing and “fight” if police “provoked” them.
“It is not by coincidence that you are here; you are here because Ses’khona is respondent number 23.
If police provoke you, fight,” Nkohla said.
Shortly afterwards, Nkohla and Andile Lili were in court along with 21 others, including the Ses’khona movement, as respondents to the interdict application.
Renata Williams SC, for the city, argued that the aim of the interdict was not to stop future protests, but to prevent incidents such as a violent protest on Vanguard Drive which led to millions spent restoring infrastructure after roads and street lights were damaged.
The interdict has been brought to prevent protesters from taking part in marches for which they have not been granted permission in term of the Gatherings Act.
The court heard that in one such incident, on Friday, February 27, a large group of “illegal” marchers were making their way into the city when they were stopped at Woodstock railway station by police using water cannon and stun grenades.
Some protesters made it to the city, but did not create any problems.
The city said a breakaway group reached Vanguard Drive in the early hours of February 28, barricaded the road and burnt portable toilets belonging to the city.
The city said it had had to deal with several unlawful gatherings for which no permission had been granted.
Advocate Pearl Mathibela argued that the events of February 27 and 28 could not be linked, and that the interdict could not be granted based on past events.
Williams shot back, saying they were not interdicting past conducts. “It’s about interdicting ongoing conduct.”
Judge Elizabeth Baartman reserved judgment.
When the two Ses’khona leaders emerged from the court the crowd cheered and sang.
Lili told them:
“They (the city) are confused. We are supposed to issue them with a notice, but they continue talking about this permit nonsense. We can never back down; we will always march to the CBD.”
The singing crowd was accompanied by public order police all the way from Keerom Street to Cape Town Station.
After a short break at the Strand and Adderley streets intersection, blocking traffic, they rushed off to catch trains. - Additional reporting by Natasha Prince