AEC members tear gassed, beaten and arrested; residents lay blame on ANC

9 02 2009
Gugulethu AEC Press Update
Monday 9 February, 2009

Today, Mncedisi Twalo and Mbulelo Zuba appeared in Athlone Magistrate Court on charges relating to obstructing IEC voter registration.  They have now been released on 500 Rand bail and the case has been postponed until the 10th of March.  They have told us that they spent almost 24 hours without food and water – Gugulethu police seemed to be punishing the two leaders.

Unfortunately, we cannot quote the two activists due to the pending trial.  However, as residents, we would like make clear the following facts:

  1. The AEC and the IEC in Gugulethu were and are on amicable terms. We had negotiated with the IEC on the shared use of the Sports Complex and everything was peaceful.  IEC officials present at the complex will agree that residents did not obstruct any registration from taking place.  To confirm this, contact Pule (number below) and he will connect you with an IEC official who was present the entire time.
  2. ANC provincial chairperson Mcebisi Skwatsha and councillor Belinda Landingwe called the police and told them to attack residents during their meetings.  They also told police to arrest Mncedisi and Mbulelo.
  3. Police came and immediately attacked residents without warning. Thousands of residents were present, many were tear gassed, others were beaten (including a 9 year old child).
  4. Residents lost phones, IDs, purses and the AEC committee lost over 2,000 Rand which they had been collecting to buy T-shirts for residents.  We think that the money and items became spoils of war divided among police officers.

Residents are angry and claim that their right to freedom of expression, freedom to meet, and freedom not to vote, have been infringed upon.  They feel intimidated by the ANC and the police and they demand an investigation take place as to the ANC’s illegal actions against non-ANC residents in Gugulethu.

For more information, contact Pule at 073 6448 919 and Lenox at 073 4684 902.

For legal comment, contact Ashraf at 076 1861 408.

Previous day’s press statement below: Read the rest of this entry »