Thursday, 21st January: 14:30
APF & EARTHLIFE ACTIVISTS ASSAULTED AND ARRESTED AT NERSA HEARINGS EARLIER TODAY FOR TRYING TO EXERCISE THEIR DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS
This morning, the NERSA public hearing into ESKOM’s application for tariff increases got underway at Gallagher Estate in Midrand. Both Earthlife and the APF were present, having made written submissions and requests for presentations in opposition to ESKOM’s application. Not long after proceedings began, a small group of Earthlife activists silently placed several posters on the walls inside the venue. Almost immediately, Gallagher Estate’s private security personnel arrived and tore down all the posters, whilst forcibly escorting those activists identified as the ‘perpetrators’, outside the venue. They then locked the doors and when a larger group of APF activists arrived, refused them (alongside the Earthlife activists already outside) entry.
Despite repeated attempts by these activists to point out the public nature of the hearing, and thus their right to attend, the private security personnel continued to lock them out. When the gathered activists then started toyi-toying, the SA Police Services were called. Three of the APF/Earthlife activists tried to reason with the police and to inform them of their democratic right to participate in the public hearing going on inside the building. The police then assaulted, arrested and hauled them off to the Midrand police station where they were charged with public violence and resisting arrest. The names of the three activists are Makoma Lekalakala, Mashao Chauke and Nomaliza Xhoma. At present they are being held at the Midrand police station while a lawyer engaged by Earthlife and the APF continues attempts to get the charges dropped.
For further comment/information contact: Ferrial Adam of Earthlife on
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