File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

CAPE TOWN - A 30-year-old man was sentenced to five years direct imprisonment by the Caledon Magistrate’s Court in the Western Cape, for assault, public violence and malicious damage to property worth over one million rand during a protest on the N2 highway, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) said on Friday.

Luwandiso Fungwana was arrested by members of the public order policing (POP) during a public protest carried out on N2 highway in June last year.

Community members of the informal settlement at New France, in Botivier, barricaded the N2 highway with rocks to show their unhappiness about government housing assistance, according to Hawks spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Philani Nkwalase.

Two vehicles from the first crime responders, one being the Caledon traffic department, and the Caledon visible policing unit, were parked nearby, whilst members were patrolling and monitoring the situation, awaiting the arrival of the POP team from Paarl.  

“A group formed up next to the parked SAPS and Traffic vehicles, they overturned both vehicles and set them alight. The members of the POP chased the group into the nearby mountain. Fungwana, who also assaulted VISPOL members, by throwing stones at them, was identified as one of the persons who overturned the SAPS vehicle before it was set alight,” said Nkwalase.

The matter was referred to the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State investigating team (CATS) for further probe following his arrest. 

Fungwana was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to five years direct imprisonment on September 27. He was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

African News Agency (ANA)