Protesters released after being arrested for anti-Zuma sit-in
Eight protesters, who were arrested during a sit-in at the National Prosecuting Authority’s (NPA) offices in Cape Town, were released on bail on Thursday morning.
The protesters, who belong to an anti-state capture organisation called Unite Behind, were detained after they occupied the NPA offices and demanded that the authority reopen charges of corruption against President Jacob Zuma and issue a warrant for his arrest.
One poster read: “#UniteBehind says #ArrestZuma or #ArrestUs”.
The police arrested the protesters after a case of trespassing was opened. The group of eight, which includes long time human rights activist Zackie Achmat, was taken to Cape Town central police station in the city centre.
Achmat spoke to police on Wednesday before the arrest to explain the group’s demands.
“We know where he [Zuma] is going to be. He’s going to be in Parliament tomorrow and we are asking the National Prosecuting Authority to do its job. Its job is to prosecute without fear or favour,” Achmat said.
“You’re either going to arrest him or you have to arrest us.”
— Ashraf Hendricks (@AshrafRSA) November 1, 2017
Prior to arriving at the NPA, a group of about 20 activists had marched through the streets saying that they knew some of their members would be arrested during the course of the protest. Their goal was to highlight that they would be arrested before the police or the NPA considered taking action against Zuma.
In October, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Zuma’s bid to appeal to avoid prosecution for fraud and corruption in the spy tapes saga. Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) wanted the appeal court to overturn the High Court’s decision, which found that the 2009 decision by acting prosecutions head Mokotedi Mpshe to drop the 783 counts of fraud, corruption and racketeering, was irrational.
Achmat and the seven other acitvists were taken into a police van after their arrest and spent the night in a holding cell in Cape Town central police station.
They appeared in court on Thursday morning where they were released on bail with no conditions. They are set to appear in court again on December 5.