SONA SCUFFLE CHARGES DROPPED

CAPE ARGUS, ARTICLE BY KIERAN LEGG

CHARGES against five senior DA members involved in a clash with police on the day of the Sate of the Nation address have been dropped. The party’s national spokesman, Marius Redelinghuys, one of five charged with public violence, looked relieved this morning as he heard the news at Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. He had been arrested after intervening in a scuffle between police and DA supporters who had gathered in Adderley Street ahead of the president’s address on February 12. Pictures captured by the Cape Argus show the national spokesman being pushed to the ground. Redelinghuys said he was shocked by the police’s response. “I was inside Parliament waiting for the Sate of the Nation address when I heard police were trying move our supporters on Adderley Street.” Redelinghuys said he tried to reason with the police, but was manhandled by one of the officers, Supporters were sprayed with a water cannon. Redelinghuys said he was then arrested and thrown into the back of a police van, where he found four other members nursing various injuries. In a paramedic’s report submitted to court the following day, it was revealed that Redelinghuys may have suffered fractured ribs. Other members, including Cape Metro Regional Chairman Shaun August, had bruised limbs and hurt necks. They had been released on bail in the early hours of the morning. During their first appearance on February 13, their lawyer, Bruce Hendricks, told the court that the injured members would be pressing charges against the officers who had arrested them. The case was postponed to allow for officers to complete their investigation. But late last night the DA members were asked to appear in court this morning. August, who is currently in George, was unable to make it. In a brief appearance, Hendricks explained that the charges against his clients had been dropped. Standing outside the courtroom afterwards, Redelinghuys said he was happy. “They were baseless charges to begin with, so I can’t say I’m surprised.” The party is still deciding whether it will pursue its ease against the police officers. “It’s still an option, we just have to see if it will be worthwhile.”