Three men charged with public violence in connection with the disruption of a voter registration station in Khayelitsha on the weekend were yesterday (Tuesday) granted bail in the Khayelitsha Magistrate Court.
About 200 residents from Khayelitsha’s TR section in Site B who gathered outside the court to show solidarity with the three men were closely monitored by a small police contingent.
The trio, who were granted bail of R1,500 yesterday, were arrested on Saturday after an Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) vehicle was damaged when a group of residents disrupted a voter registration station in a protest over service delivery.
The arrested men appeared briefly and were not asked to plead.
Each of the three men received R500 bail and the case was postponed until May 19 so that outstanding statements could be gathered from the police and the IEC. Once the case had adjourned, people in the crowd outside began collecting money to bail the men out.
During proceedings, state prosecutor Ndakhele Mlungwana told the court that a group of angry toyi-toying residents had confronted an IEC official at a registration station at the Bongani Educare Centre.
He said the residents had chased the official out of the registration station before confiscating a key and locking the doors.
Mlungwana said papers before the court indicated that the group were not satisfied about the way government handled service delivery in the area.
They had decided to boycott the voter registration process held over the weekend, so that their concerns about service delivery could be attended to by the government.
Presiding magistrate Maya Prag told the three accused that “this is a serious offence punishable by the law and if found guilty one can stay a long time in jail”.
Amongst the group of residents outside the court was the area’s ANC councillor Mpendulo Solizwe, who said he had come to see and hear the case of the trio.
However, Solizwe said he condemned the action of the residents and pleaded for the law to take its course.
“Nothing has ever been solved through violence and I urge people to stop such actions. The people were protesting for service delivery in the area and saw the opportunity to disrupt the voter registration station. What they did is not right,” Solizwe said.