Residents of Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg, have once again vowed to shutdown the community should their arrested leaders not be released on bail tomorrow.
Community leaders, Loyiso Toyiya and Lefa Nkala, made a brief appearance at the Randburg Magistrates’ Court yesterday alongside their unnamed co-accused.
The trio was arrested last week after residents blockaded roads and torched stalls belonging to vendors during a protest against the high crime rate in the area.
The three faces various charges, including inciting public violence and intimidation.
Community members came out in numbers to support them.
They sat shoulder to shoulder in the courtroom, welcoming the accused with waves and a clamour of excitement as they made their way to the dock.
The matter was postponed to Wednesday to allow the state to verify their place of residence.
The state has opposed bail in the matter.
The National Prosecuting Authorities Gauteng Spokesperson, Phindi Mjonondwane, says their move is due to the seriousness of the charges against the three.
Reverend and Diepsloot community leader, Thokwane Dithuge, has called for calm as residents await the bail judgment.
The religious leader insists the two community leaders are innocent, saying they cannot be put to trial for defending the interests of their community.
He says while Nkala and Toyiya have been shaken, they remain in good spirits behind bars.
Residents have on the other hand urged political organisations not to exploit the recent unrest in the area for cheap political point-scoring.
Their call comes after various political parties, including Action SA, the ANC and EFF, addressed residents at the back of today’s court proceedings.
Some community members have criticised the political parties for being nowhere to be found at the height of demonstrations.
Operation Dudula Regional Leader, Cher Serobedi, says the community’s collective calls for an end to criminality must not be hijacked by politicians. Article by Naomi Kobbie
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena