Shortly following their release after three weeks in custody on Saturday, the seven people accused of dumping human faeces at the Cape Town International Airport last month vowed to continue with the ‘poo protests’.
The seven men accused of dumping human waste around Cape Town received a warm welcome from communities in a number of informal settlements after they were released on Saturday morning.
The ‘poo protest’ accused were granted bail by the Cape Town High Court on Friday, after a group of more than 300 informal communities marched in a rainy weather to the court demanding a fair trial for the accused.
Former ANC councillor Andile Lili, ANC Proportional Councillor Loyiso Nkohla, Ward 98 ANCYL chairperson Yanga Mjigwana, Ward 87 ANCYL member Bongile Zanazo, Ward 95 community leader Thembela Mbanjwa and Sannicare employees Ben Dyani and Jaji, were arrested for allegedly dumping human waste at the entrance of the Cape Town International Airport on June 25.
The Bellville Magistrate court denied them bail, but High Court Judge Dennis Davids on Friday said they have the right to protest over bad service delivery.
They were granted R2, 000 bail each, which was collected by informal settlement community members. The seven will have to report daily to their local police station as part of their bail condition.
About 30 community leaders waited outside Pollsmoor Prison for the release of the accused on Saturday.
Minutes after they were released, the seven vowed to continue with the poo protest.
“As long the conditions are still the same we will continue to dump the faeces in their (local government’s) offices,” said Lili.
Lili said in the three weeks he spent in jail he thought the living conditions of informal settlement residents would have improved, but nothing appeared to have changed.
“We are not going to stop until the situation is resolved and this kind of situation can never be resolved through court and Pollsmoor, it can only be resolve by the responsible government who failed to deliver better services for the people,” said Lili.
He said Pollsmoor is better than living with a portable toilets inside one’s shack, where fathers have to relieve themselves in front of their children.
From Pollsmoor the seven visited community members in Barcelona, Kosovo, S informal settlement and Nkanini, where they received a warm welcome from residents who supported them.
Mzwakhe Nogqala from Barcelona said: “We are happy that they all came back to us. They were arrested for fighting for our rights, we all deserve better service delivery, we’re tired of using bucket toilets.”
ANCYL leader Luvo Makhasi, said as league in the province supported the ‘poo protests’, however they disagreed with the way Lili and Nkohla were drawing attention to the issue.
The seven were also warned by the court not to throw any form of waste in public areas, but they seem determined to ignore this bail condition.
Nkohla vowed to continue with the protests.
“We will have a meeting with your leaders to find a way forward but we are not going to stop now. This is a violation of human rights and we cannot tolerate that,” Nkohla told communities.
The seven are also expected in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on August 2 with 186 protesters for allegedly attempting to dump faeces in the Cape Town Civic Centre. – Nombulelo Damba