Poo protesters cry foul over costs of defending themselves

Former Cape Town ANC councillor Loyiso Nkohla is known for his razor-sharp tongue and for being hauled before court to explain his use of human excrement during protests.

Now Nkohla is crying foul over the criminal charges he is facing as his legal fees mount.

The Bellville Regional Court convicted Nkohla and another former ANC councillor Andile Lili‚ along with seven members of the Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement‚ of contravening a section of the Civil Aviation Act in February.

The nine were arrested in June 2013 after they strewed human waste at the Cape Town International Airport in protest against portable flush toilets the City of Cape Town was providing for informal settlements. They are yet to be sentenced.

Meanwhile‚ Nkohla and Bongani Zanazo‚ a member of the civic movement‚ are facing charges for allegedly contravening sections of the Waste Act and the Riotous Assemblies Act in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court.

These relate to an incident on June 10‚ 2013 when the two allegedly spilled contents of portable lavatories at the entrance of a provincial building at the Greenmarket Square.

This month‚ lawyer Ntuthuko Msomi‚ representing Nkohla and Zanazo‚ made submissions to the Western Cape Director of Public Prosecution‚ Rodney de Kock‚ to have the charges dropped.

Msomi said it may “constitute oppressive prosecution” to try the two in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on charges that the Bellville Regional Court had dismissed.

“At all material times‚ our clients were engaged in peaceful protest action to highlight the desperate plight of marginalised communities‚ whose rights and dignity among many other basic rights‚ were being‚ and continue to be‚ violated by the relevant government authorities‚” Msomi wrote.

“Coupled to the conduct and outcome of the Bellville case in respect of the listed statutory provisions‚ the prosecution of our clients may well constitute oppressive prosecution actuated by considerations other the proper administration of justice. Our clients are not people of means. Yet‚ they are being forced by the state to defend themselves against a long list of technical but unsuitable charges.”

Eric Ntabazalila‚ the spokesman for the National Prosecution Authority in the Western Cape‚ confirmed that the state received the submissions on July 1. No decision has been taken.

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