Masiphumelele in lockdown

Roads blocked and workers and learners told to stay home

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Photo of a man hoisted up by the crowd
Lubabalo Vellem is lifted up by the crowd and cheered outside court in November 2015. Photo by Thembela Ntongana.

At a meeting held yesterday in an open field next to the clinic in Masiphumelele, about 500 people decided that there would be no work or school today. No one may leave the township.

Today, one of the community leaders, Lubabalo Vellem, is appearing in the Simon’s Town Magistrates’ Court. Vellem is accused of murder, assault, attempted murder and public violence, relating to the mob justice murder of a man on 15 September and the assault of another man on 29 September.

The residents want to show the court that they want Vellem back. They hope their action will stop the courts postponing the matter yet again.

Throughout the night people were in the streets singing. Shops were closed. Night shift workers were told to stay home. Workers at the nearby Compass Bakery Factory were also told to stop work and leave the premises.

Shots were fired during the night, allegedly involving taxi owners. One man was injured and taken to hospital by a resident.

Taxi drivers were asked not to work today, but taxi owners have refused to stop transport. Residents said they will block the taxis. A march to the courts is underway and some community members are staying behind to make sure taxis do not resume service.

GroundUp hopes to publish an updated story on events in Masiphumelele either later today or tomorrow morning.

TOPICS:  Crime Masiphumelele

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