About 100 residents from Khayelitsha’s TR Section informal settlement marched to the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court on Monday to support six of their number accused of damaging the ward councillor and his secretary’s house last week.
Six TR Section residents spent the weekend in custody after being arrested for breaking down the homes of ward councillor Luvuyo Hebe and ward secretary Khaya July on Thursday last week.
Phumlani Zoneleni, Mpumelelo Wanambi, Mzukisi Ngondela, Thembile Melani, Siyabulela Bakuva and Mandisa Coko appeared before Magistrate Lindsey Arnott and were released on a warning.
The six face charges of malicious damage to property.
The councillor and secretary’s homes were vandalised after a heated meeting in which July apparently refused to answer questions about a financial report tabled before the community residents.
Residents claimed that Hebe and July were selling housing plots in a new low-cost housing project.
It was alleged that Hebe had been collecting money from residents claiming it was for the development of the area and when asked to account for the money he refused to answer.
Zikhona Buzwane, who joined the demonstration outside court, said residents had repeatedly asked Hebe to withdraw the case against the six but he refused.
Buzwane said the six who were arrested should not be singled out as “we all vandalised their houses”.
She said breaking down the homes of people who did not cooperate with the community’s wishes was an idea introduced by Hebe.
“Hebe came up with that rule. We used to do it with him,” said Buzwane.
“Residents had a general meeting, we wanted to know about the money we’ve been paying. Hebe as a chairperson was present at the meeting. When residents wanted answers from him and July they both swore at us, they never gave us answers.”
She said shortly thereafter some residents received threatening SMSs from July. When pressed for an explanation, July apologised, said Buzwane, but Hebe “didn’t care”.
“Then as residents we vandalised their houses. We were doing what we were told by our chairperson or councillor (Hebe) to do if a person does not behave.
“He said residents had a right to demolish the house, that’s why we destroyed his and his secretary’s. We want them out of TR they’re too corrupt.”
Hebe was present at court but refused to comment. He said he’s waiting for the ANC to tell him what to do.
The accused were warned to reappear at the Khayelitsha Magistrate court on November 25.– Nombulelo Damba