Two more DRC nationals given bail for Jo'burg protests

Two more Congolese nationals—from a group of 20 charged with alleged violence relating to post-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) election tensions in Johannesburg—were released on bail of R2 000 each at the Johannesburg regional magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

While 17 in their group had been released on bail earlier this month, Fidel Ikomo and Nzuzi Bongo had been detained for not having the proper immigration documents.

Ikomo had alleged that his had been destroyed by police during a swoop of the mainly Congolese Johannesburg quarter of Yeoville on January 19 that is alleged to have netted over 300 Congolese males.

Police investigating the matter had managed to confirm with the department of home affairs that Ikomo and Bongo were legal asylum seekers in the country. The last Congolese national, Amazi Ramazani, was still in police custody as the case was postponed until March 16.

The 20, who appeared before magistrate Simon Radasi, are charged with kidnapping, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, public violence and malicious damage to property.

Anti-Joseph Kabila protests in Johannesburg—and around the world—have followed the November presidential elections in the DRC that saw the incumbent, Kabila, return despite widespread sentiment that the result was fraudulent.

These protests were especially intense in Johannesburg where community members in areas like Yeoville alleged that arrests occurred at the instigation of a pro-Kabila strongman, Fabrice “King Zombi” Shungu who they have accused of working with local police—a charge police strenuously deny.

On Sunday, Kabila’s chief adviser was killed in a plane crash near the eastern town of Bukavu, an Interior Ministry official said.

The official, Richard Ilunga, confirmed the death of Augustin Katumba Mwanke and said Finance Minister Matata Ponyo Mapon and Marcellin Cishambo Rohuya, governor of the South Kivu province, were also on board and had survived the crash.

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi

Niren Tolsi is a freelance journalist whose interests include social justice, citizen mobilisation and state violence, protest, the Constitution and Constitutional Court, football and Test cricket. Read more from Niren Tolsi

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