Police minister sued for R2m

KwaZulu-Natal chairperson of the Unemployed People's Movement is suing the state for R2million.

Nozipho Mteshana's lawyer, Vuyani Dontsha, has confirmed that she is suing Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and the South African Police Service.

Mteshana is former president of South African Unemployed People's Movement (SAUPM), a group that made headlines when its members looted various shops in Durban because "they were hungry".

She said she had ditched the SAUPM after it robbed people while she was in jail in Pietermaritzburg.

Mteshana said SAUPM forced people to pay R10 and promised food parcels.

Mteshana was arrested for leading the renegade group, made up mainly of women, but was was acquitted by the Durban magistrate's court.

Yesterday she told Sowetan she was suing the state for R2million.

"The lawsuit is for defamation and unlawful detention."

Mteshana said she was detained in jail for three weeks and later granted R2000 bail.

"The bail had strict conditions and for eight months I was under house arrest," Mteshana said. "I couldn't do anything without getting permission. Even going to the toilet was a huge task."

"I am not doing this (suing the state) because I want money. I want the government to look at how courts operate

"This left me wondering how many people are arrested and detained and in some cases sentenced to life imprisonment despite being innocent."

She said she was also sending a clear message to the government that courts must not look at the status of individuals before deciding their fate.