The Lenasia Magistrates’ Court has granted bail to 28 residents of Precast and Thembelihle informal settlements, who had been arrested in the wake of two days of protest in the area. Despite there being no evidence that any of the residents had committed any offence, they were detained for almost three weeks at the Johannesburg Correctional Centre (Sun City).
Bhavna Ramji, attorney to the 28 residents said: “The state is not entitled to detain people in order to prevent protest. Yet this was the brazen and thoroughly unlawful justification offered by the state in this case. Loss of liberty for three weeks is an unacceptable price to pay for the exercise of the residents’ constitutionally-protected rights to assemble to articulate a political grievance. But many of my clients had nothing to do with the protests at all and were arrested as part of a strategy of what appears to be collective punishment of the Precast and Thembelihle communities for being sites of dissent.”