Masiphumelele hearing postponed again

Lawyers step down because of lack of funds

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Photo of Masiphumelele residents outside court
Residents of Masiphumelele are paying lawyers’ fees for activist Lubabalo Vellem and seven other accused. Photo: Thembela Ntongana

The court case against eight Masiphumelele residents who were arrested during unrest late last year was again postponed today, due to unpaid lawyers’ fees.

Activist Lubabalo Vellem and two others are facing charges of attempted murder and public violence. The other accused are facing charges of malicious damage to property and public violence.

Lawyer Xavier Erasmus from Liddell Weeber and Van der Merwe told the court that the firm was stepping down as representatives for four of the accused because of problems with finances. He told the accused that R15,000 had to be paid before he could represent them further.

Lawyers’ fees for all the accused are currently being paid by the community.

The case was postponed to 6 October for the four to consult with the legal aid lawyer provided by the state.

Vellem, whose bail conditions prohibit him from going into Masiphumelele, stated that he was living in Khayelitsha with his sister and had been granted permission to go to the community today. He had not been able to attend an appointment at the local clinic last week and had waited to come to court to ask for permission.

Vellem also asked if he could visit his children while in Masiphumelele but Magistrate Karel Meyer told him he could ask someone to bring the children to the clinic.

Alternatively, Meyer said, Vellem could go to the nearest police station and have a police van escort him to see his children.

TOPICS:  Court Crime

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