public violence - Cato Crest informal settlement - Durban Magistrates Court

On 30 September 2013 Bandile Mdlalose, then General Secretary of Abahlali baseMjondolo, was arrested and charged with "public violence" in Durban. Her arrest occurred after she arrived at Cato Crest informal settlement to show support to the family of Nqobile Nzuza, who was shot dead following a protest at the settlement. This protest occurred following a number of illegal evictions at the settlement by the Anti-Land Invasion Unit (read more on the Cato Crest case here).

Mdlalose was accused of having unlawfully assembled Cato Crest residents, who protested by blocking a road with burning tyres. In an affidavit by the investigating officer, it was alleged that Mdlalose acted as the leader of the protest and, if released on bail, could incite another violent protest. Mdlalose was held at the Westville Prison for a week, awaiting her bail hearing on 7 October 2013. She was eventually granted bail of R5 000 by the Magistrate, on condition that she not be allowed in the Cato Manor area until the finalisation of the trial, and that she report to a police station every Monday and Friday in order for police to monitor her movements. 

Mdlalose's trial was held over 3 days from 2 to 4 June 2014. On 7 August 2014 she was acquitted of the public violence charge in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which states that after the prosecution has closed its case a court may find the accused not guilty due to there not being sufficient evidence to prove the charge. In this case, the court found that there was not enough evidence to prove that Mdlalose had committed the crime of public violence.