scuffle: Police officers in near confrontation with the activists who were blocked from entering the High Court gate.
THE seven arrested PUDEMO members will spend the next seven days behind bars after being remanded in custody until next Tuesday by the High Court yesterday
PUDEMO is the acronym for People’s United Democratic Movement.
PUDEMO Secretary General Mlungisi Makhanya, Public Relations Officer Brian Clive Ntshangase, Bongani Gama, Bafana Mabandla Magongo, Siza Jabulani Tsabedze, Ntobeko Gideon Maseko and Mangaliso Simanga Khumalo made their first appearance before High Court Judge Mumcy Dlamini yesterday.They were arrested last Wednesday whilst attending the trial of incarcerated The Nation Magazine Editor Bheki Makhubu and Human Rights Lawyer Thulani Maseko. Makhubu and Maseko are facing contempt of court charges emanating from articles they wrote in The Nation Magazine in their February and March issues. These were articles concerning the arrest of Government Chief Vehicle Inspector Vincent Bhantshana Gwebu. PUDEMO is a proscribed entity according to the Suppression of Terrorism Act. The seven were found wearing berets and T-shirts written PUDEMO and this according to the act is an offence.
Judge Dlamini remanded them in custody until May 6, pending further orders in the matter. They were represented by attorney Vusi Kunene whereas Senior Crown counsel Macebo Nxumalo represented the state.
They were all charged with four counts of terrorism. On the first count, they are charged with contravening Section 11 (1) (a) of the Suppression of Terrorism Act No.3 of 2008. On the second charge they contravened Section 11 (1) (b) of the same Act. It is alleged that they on Tuesday and Wednesday last week along the High Court, Mbabane Bus Rank and Mahlokohla Street near kaZondle corridor, unlawfully solicited support for and or gave support to a terrorist entity, PUDEMO. They are said to have chanted slogans while wearing the white T-shirts written PUDEMO and reflecting terrorist demands at the back. They also wore red and black PUDEMO berets and thus contravened this Act.
They are also charged with contravening Section 4 (a) (b) (c) and (e) read together with Section 3 (c) and (e) of the Sedition and Subversive Activities Act no.46 of 1938 as amended.
With their act they are alleged to have attempted, prepared, and conspired with others to do an act with seditious intentions. According to the charge, they brought into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Swaziland and or promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of the population in the country.
Attorney Kunene indicated that they will be filing bail applications for the accused persons today.
Judge Dlamini advised that such be done before the end of business today and the crown, which intends to oppose the application, files their opposing papers on Thursday.
The bail application is scheduled to be heard in open court on Friday.
…members told to move 15 metres away
PUDEMO members were yesterday told to move 15 metres away from the High Court gate.
The members who sang for the better part of the day were told to move away from the gate as they were disturbing proceedings inside court.
About 30 police officers guarded the entrance to the High Court yesterday.
Unlike in the previous days of the Makhubu and Maseko trial, yesterday only a few people gathered outside the High Court entrance to sing and shout in support of the incarcerated duo. This was contrary to reports by the proscribed entity that they will come in their numbers to support their seven incarcerated comrades, who were also appearing.
This made police work easy as they had no problem driving them away from the High Court entrance.