Thu Oct 27 12:51:44 CAT 2016

'pants' trial on hold

By unknown | Mar 13, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The four men accused of assaulting a woman for wearing pants at T-Section in Umlazi, south of Durban, won the first round in the equality court yesterday.

The trial, which was set to be held for two days, was postponed in less than five minutes after bad weather adversely affected the recording machines in court.

The court passages were flooded with water after a hail storm wreaked havoc in Durban.

The turn of events were to the advantage of the accused, who had asked for a postponement on Tuesday so that they could bring a new lawyer after they had fired their first lawyer.

The court had rejected their request.

The four men are accused of assaulting Zandile Mpanza for wearing pants at T-section's Seventeen men's hostel and forcing her to parade naked in public in July last year.

The accused, Thulani Cele, Sibusiso Cele, Wiseman Mzotho and Zitha Nzuza, had appealed for a postponement on the first day of the trial - on Tuesday.

They had fired their lawyer, Abdul Karrim, and requested that the case be postponed for a week.

They said they wanted to have time to give their new lawyer a chance to get their files.

But the court rejected their request, instructing them to bring their new lawyer, Laurence de Klerk, to court yesterday.

De Klerk assigned Advocate Gerrie Maree to represent his clients yesterday.

Maree applied for a postponement in the magistrate's chambers.

Postponing the trial, senior magistrate Louis Radys said because of the severe floods that hit Durban on Tuesday night, the recording machines were not working.

"Some of the recording machines were affected. Advocate Maree applied for postponement, and we agreed on the dates for trial in my chamber with the lawyers of the complainant and the respondents.

"The cost for this day will be paid by the respondents."

He warned witnesses and the complainant to be present on the trial dates April 9 to 11.

The small court gallery was packed with gender activists and women wearing all kinds of pants.

Immediately after the postponement, gender activists walked out of court, singing noma besidubula, besishaya, bes'rape, siyaya e-seventeen - even if they shoot us, beat us or rape us, we will go to Seventeen men's hostel.


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