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Again, Blacks are Vulnerable Targets of Police Brutality

Eight activists arrested during a mine protest to appear in court for a bail hearing

Activists  and community members protest Ikwezi Coal Mine in Dannhauser

Activists and community members protest Ikwezi Coal Mine in Dannhauser

15 March 2021 - Eight of the nine activists arrested during a protest against Ikwezi coal mine on Friday, will today appear before the Magistrate Court in Dannhauser.  Sindi Kubheka, Robby Mokgalaka, Themba Khumalo, Isaac Shabalala, Zakhele Mthanti, Zanele Kubheka, Buhle Kunene and Sipho Shabalala will all stand before the Court for a bail hearing.

The eight were part of a two-day protest where police fired rubber bullets, one activists sustained serious injuries others sustained just minor injuries and nine were taken into custody. The protest by community members and activists started on Thursday and on Friday, the second day of protest the people were confronted by police.

It is not clear why police decided to fire rubber bullets as this was a peaceful protest and this horrible incident took place while community representatives and mine personnel were busy in talks for a suitable venue to engage with the protesters. The protesters were not armed, did not show any signs of violent behavior, nor were they trespassing. And the law clearly states that, police use approved rubber rounds to disperse crowds only in extreme circumstances, if less forceful methods have proven ineffective.

“What happened in Dannhauser cannot be viewed in isolation from the incident that claimed the life of a bystander Mthokozisi Ntumba in Braamfontein during a student protest. The police brutality that we keep witnessing is a serious threat to our democracy and the rights of people to protest and express their concerns and views. While police misconduct and brutality is not acceptable in any way or form, this senseless behaviour seems to be directed or targeted at a specific racial group – blacks”, says Bobby Peek from environmental justice group groundWork.

One activist, Thoko Nkosi was later released on Friday after it was established that she had not been apprehended by the police but by the mine security guards. Local activists will stage a picket outside the Dannhauser magistrate court tomorrow morning calling for the unconditional release of those arrested.

 

Further background information:

 

Details:

Date: 15 March 2021
Time: 08:30 am
Place: Dannhauser Magistrate Court, 06 Church Street, Dannhauser, 3080

 

Contacts:

Nkanyiso Mthombeni
+27 82 073 8550
thandolempisi@gmail.com

Tsepang Molefe
+27 74 405 1257
media@groungwork.org.za