ANC councillors arrested in 'act of racism'

BAILED OUT: Nkosana Solomon Makhubu, Fani Tsotetsi, Matlepe Ephraim Motaung and John Poone were among residents who were arrested at the municipal offices after staging a sit-in. Pic. Munyadziwa Nemutudi.11/01/2010. © Sowetan..
BAILED OUT: Nkosana Solomon Makhubu, Fani Tsotetsi, Matlepe Ephraim Motaung and John Poone were among residents who were arrested at the municipal offices after staging a sit-in. Pic. Munyadziwa Nemutudi.11/01/2010. © Sowetan..

IN what is being described as "a humiliating act of racism", a group of ANC councillors found themselves crammed into the back of police vans en route to police cells.

IN what is being described as "a humiliating act of racism", a group of ANC councillors found themselves crammed into the back of police vans en route to police cells.

This was after Albert de Klerk, a Midvaal municipal manager from the DA-run Sedibeng municipality, had accused them and 32 residents of Mamello informal settlement of trespassing after they staged a sit-in at the council offices on Friday.

"Some councillors could be heard screaming and asking for water because it was hot in the police vans. To top it all, they were fingerprinted like criminals. Midvaal still conducts itself like an old apartheid state," a resident told Sowetan.

The incident was confirmed by ANC Midvaal secretary Dan Manweli.

He said the group had gone to see Midvaal mayor Timothy Nast about the council's plans to move the informal settlement.

"They staged a sit-in because the manager had lied about the mayor's whereabouts. Officials from the housing department were invited to come and clarify certain issues. While everybody was waiting De Klerk called the police," Manweli said.

He said the councillors were charged with trespassing and freed at midnight.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday one councillor said: "I am very sick after being in jail for eight hours."

De Klerk failed to return our calls or respond to massages left on his cellphone.

"We are planning to intensify protests and sit-ins," said Manweli, who accused the DA-led municipality of delaying projects aimed at assisting black people.

"When the housing department wanted to build houses for Mamello residents, the municipality claimed there was no land available. It later transpired that there was council-owned land next to Mamello," Manweli said.

Meanwhile, residents have vowed to cause disorder in council offices until their demands are met.

Simon Shabalala, one of those arrested, said: "We want to see development in our settlement. We are tired of living under inhuman conditions."

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