[LISTEN] You can't punish everyone who protests - Social Justice Coalition

The State and the Minister of Police in the Constitutional Court, have applied for leave to appeal a landmark ruling by the Western Cape High Court last month, which declared part of the Regulation of Gatherings Act act unconstitutional.

The case was initiated by the Social Justice Coalition after it's supporters were arrested and charged with contravening the act when they had chained themselves to the railing of the Civic Centre in Cape Town in 2015, demanding to see Mayor Patricia de Lille.

Gushwell Brooks, standing in for Karima Brown, spoke to General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition Axolile Notywala. He explains the High Court ruling.

The high court ruled that section 12(1) of the gathering act is unconstitutional because it criminalizes the convening of a gathering of more than 15 people and therefore limits a number of people in terms of exercising their rights to assembly.

Axolile Notywala, General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition

It also violates section 17 of the constitution which guarantees everyone the right to assembly in a peaceful manner.

Axolile Notywala, General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition

Notywala says the state's appeal suggests there is an increased risk that protests will turn violent if there is no notice.

We acknowledge that we have seen protests that have not been peaceful but that does not justify the criminalisation of the right to protest, because when violence happens there is a crime that is committed there, so that should be treated as a crime, but not to say you are punishing everyone who is protesting who does not necessarily participate in that criminal activity.

Axolile Notywala, General Secretary of the Social Justice Coalition

Click on the link below to listen to the full interview....


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