4 WOZA activists still not taken to court – charges changed

The four WOZA women who refused to pay fines have still not been taken tocourt. When they presented themselves at Bulawayo Central Police Station this morning, they were informed by the Investigating Officer, Constable Masawi, that the charges against them were being changed and so the paperwork would need to be prepared from the beginning. They spent the morning at the police station being processed for the fresh charges and have been informed that they will be taken to court tomorrow morning.

The new charges are under Section 46 2 (v) of the Third Schedule to the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act  – ’employs any means whatsoever which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort, convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or obstruction’. They had previously been charged under Section 37 (1b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – ‘ … performs any action, utters any words or distributes or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation that is obscene, threatening, abusive or insulting, intending thereby to provoke a breach of the peace…’

All those released have spoken of the horrific conditions they endured. The cells are filthy with overflowing toilets and on the first night, they were severely overcrowded. Food bins are not emptied regularly so maggots can be seen crawling in the bins. The women were also subjected to invasive strip searches every day. One woman on anti-retroviral treatment had to fight for

access to her tablets every day by demanding to see the officer-in-charge as police tried to deny her access to her life-saving medication – on one occasion, she was actually denied her ARVs.

Two of the women have had to seek medical treatment for bad rashes developed from the filthy conditions. In the meantime, police officers have been present at the homes of both Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu in recent days.

Post published in: Politics

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