Above: Some of the accused who were released after the Western Cape High Court ordered it.

The arrest and detention of EFF members and supporters protesting the racist advertisement published by Clicks in the Eikestad Mall ended in an urgent High Court application to get them released from police detention on Saturday 12 September.

StellenboschNews.com reported earlier that sixteen EFF members and supporters were arrested on Thursday 10 September whilst protesting for allegedly contravening the interim interdict issued by the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday. The interdict did not prohibit protest but prohibited protestors from violent and intimidatory conduct. As reported earlier Councillor Derick Hendrickse of the EFF denied that any of the protestors at the Eikestad Mall was involved in such conduct.

The sixteen individuals were all charged with contempt of court and one was charged with common assault. 

Members and supporters of the EFF being addressed by EFF Western Cape Provincial Chairman Melikhaya Xego in front of the Stellenbosch Police Station on Saturday afternoon.

Members and supporters of the EFF being addressed by EFF Western Cape Provincial Chairman Melikhaya Xego in front of the Stellenbosch Police Station on Saturday afternoon.

There were held at the Stellenbosch Police Station before being brought before a court on Friday 11 September. When the accused was not brought before court on Friday on charges which were unlikely to result in a prison sentence, even if they were to be convicted, the EFF approached the High Court and brought an habeas corpus application against the Minister of Police and other parties.

Acting Judge Fred Sievers, after considering the matter, ordered that all the accused be released immediately, and they were warned to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrates Court on Monday morning 14 September. At their appearance on Monday morning, the case was postponed to 2 October for further investigation.Acting Judge Fred Sievers, after considering the matter, ordered that all the accused be released immediately, and they were warned to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrates Court on Monday morning 14 September. At their appearance on Monday morning, the case was postponed to 2 October for further investigation.

In their papers in the rule nisi application EFF Western Cape Chairperson, Melikhaya Xego, painted a picture of a slapstick comedy to the court. In the papers, Xego said the accused had been in custody since Friday 11 September and that at 15:43 Captain R Naicker had confirmed to the attorney of the accused, Stephen Osborne, that the police had verified all the addresses of the accused and that he had no issues with the accused being released on bail. Captain Philips also confirmed that he had no problem with bail being granted.

At 17:21 on Friday 11 September, senior prosecutor Linda Gerber informed Osborne that she was ready to set bail and that she would leave the paperwork at the police station so that the accused may be released. Despite this, unknown members of the police refused to release the accused saying that only a court can decide whether they could be released. Xego then said that this and the time that the accused was held in detention, meant that their detention was unlawful.

The judge agreed with the applicant and the order was granted. Accordingly, the accused were released on Saturday afternoon 12 September.

Sergeant Jason Rhoda, spokesperson for the Stellenbosch SAPS, said that they have no comment. “That is the high court ruling and we respect that,” he said.

The NPA was approached for comment and their comment will be added when we receive it.
 – StellenboschNews.com Newsroom