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Support for Anti Privatisation activists in South Africa

Matthews Ndlovu, an activist of one of the APF's community affiliates
(the Phiri Concerned Residents Association) was, on Wednesday this week,
convicted and sentenced on a charge of 'malicious damage to property' in
the Protea North District Magistrate's Court to a fine of R25 000 or 2
years in jail.
Matthews Ndlovu, an activist of one of the APF's community affiliates
(the Phiri Concerned Residents Association) was, on Wednesday this week,
convicted and sentenced on a charge of 'malicious damage to property' in
the Protea North District Magistrate's Court to a fine of R25 000 or 2
years in jail. Comrade Matthews has been part of the Phiri community's
active resistance to the installation of pre-paid water meters and was
singled out and charged some months ago as a result of that collective
resistance.

Despite a very weak case brought by the state prosecutor (which our
lawyer was able to punch major holes in), the fact that Comrade Matthews
is a 'first offender' and that the 'damaged property' in question
consisted of a few pipes being laid by Johannesburg Water for the
installation of pre-paid meters, the presiding magistrate - one Ms. du
Toit - decided to convict Matthews and impose an absolutely outrageous
and clearly politically-motivated sentence. Indeed, during the court
proceedings, the magistrate consistently and consciously ignored and/or
interrupted evidence being presented by our lawyer, coached the state
prosecutor and embarked on a lecture to the court on the wonderful job
that the government is doing in bringing basic services to poor
communities. When our lawyer made an immediate request for an appeal to
the conviction/sentence, the magistrate dismissed it outright. What is
clear from all of this is that there is a concerted strategy involving
all arms of the state (in alliance with privatised institutions such as
Johannesburg Water) to silence and 'deal with' the activities and
resistance of community activists/social movements by convicting
activists regardless of the evidence and imposing outrageously
inappropriate sentences.

Presently, our lawyer is preparing a petition to the Chief Justice for
leave to appeal the conviction/sentence and this will be filed in the
High Court on Monday. However, until this petition is heard (and there
is no guarantee that it will be granted and/or succeed even if granted)
Comrade Matthews must remain incarcerated in the infamous 'Sun City'
jail. While we are hopeful that the appeal petition will be granted, we
MUST IMMEDIATELY raise the necessary funds to pay the imposed fine.

The APF is therefore urgently requesting that all concerned and
sympathetic individuals, organisations, movements etc. make a financial
contribution towards paying the fine imposed on Comrade Matthews. All
contributions can be deposited into the APF bank account (details below)
- please mark any deposit "Ndlovu case' so that we will be able to
identify the deposit. The APF thanks you in advance.

Bank Account Information for the APF

Account Name: Anti-Privatisation Forum
Bank: First National Bank
Branch: Bank City
Bank Address: Block A, #3 First Place, Bank City, FNB,
Johannesburg, 2000
Branch Code: 250805(00)
Account Number: 62027851452
Type of Account: Cheque
Swift Code: FIRN ZAJJA046
Telephone: (011) 352 1338/492 3321/492 3345
Contact Person: Vanitha Maharaj
Foreign Transfers: (011) 352 8290 (tel), (011) 352 8219 (Fax) -
Attn: Paulina
e-bus: 083 123 3000

AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!
A LUTA CONTINUA!

For further information contact Dale on 072 429-4086
www.apf.org.za/

homepage: homepage: http://www.apf.org.za/