Cops gear up for Day 2 of hearing

Police cars converge on President Street. Photo: Barry McCallum

Police cars converge on President Street. Photo: Barry McCallum

Published Aug 31, 2011


Police carrying riot gear were marching through a Johannesburg street on Wednesday morning, when Youth League leader Julius Malema's disciplinary hearing was set to continue.

More police officers arrived as their colleagues marched down President Street near Luthuli House, the headquarters of the ANC where Malema and five co-accused face disciplinary charges.

Streets around Luthuli House were expected to close around 10am, an officer on the scene told a Sapa reporter.

Journalists who had arrived early expressed nervousness ahead of the second day of the hearing which had seen Malema supporters turn violent.

Jacaranda FM reporter Melissa du Preez was groped and pushed around by rioters on Tuesday. “I'm hoping I won't have to fear for my life again. I'm hoping it will be a bit more restrained. I was frightened when driving here this morning and praying that other journalists would be here early as well. There's safety in numbers.”

Eyewitness news reporter Andrea van Wyk was also groped, sworn at and called an Afriforum agent. “I will be a bit more cautious today and I hope demonstrators will heed Malema's call not to target journalists.”

Most businesses were open after closing their doors on Tuesday when Malema supporters became violent.

“Right now the situation is back to normal,” said Johannesburg metro police spokesman Wayne Minnaar. “There's a possibility that it could change.”

The ANC earlier said the hearing of Malema and his five co-accused would continue at Luthuli House, despite violent protests by his supporters there on Tuesday.

Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said there was a strong police presence in town. “Our members are still there in town.”

Roads would be closed again, “if there are some problems”, said Dlamini.

A policeman was hospitalised on Tuesday and six journalists were hit by rocks, including a Carte Blanche cameraman, Dudley Saunders, who had a bleeding gash on his forehead, The Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Sapa photographer Werner Beukes, two eNews journalists Belinda Moses and Cathy Mohlahlana, The Star photographer Boxer Ngwenya and Citizen photographer Michel Bega were also hit by rocks thrown by Malema supporters.

The ANC initially said the hearing would be moved to a different venue, but spokesman Jackson Mthembu on Wednesday morning said it would continue at Luthuli House.

“The hearing will be held at Luthuli House, however if the situation does not improve from Tuesday, it will be moved to an alternative venue,” Mthembu said.

“The National Disciplinary Committee would make the final decision when or if to move venues.”

Rioters thronged Johannesburg's city centre on Tuesday, hurling broken bricks at police and journalists, and burning pictures of President Jacob Zuma.

Malema, league spokesman, Floyd Shivambu, league deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy, Kenetswe Mosenogi and treasurer general Pule Mabe face charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in ANC ranks.

This was after Malema said the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was “in full co-operation with imperialists” and was undermining the “African agenda”. – Sapa

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