Police fire stun grenades and manhandle reporters at eThekwini mayor's march

Suspended eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede's supporters, clashed with police in Durban on Thursday.

Gumede's supporters are demanding her reinstatement whose special leave has been extended pending her corruption charges.

[RELATED] No return to work today for fraud-accused eThekwini Mayor

Police fired stun grenades in an effort to disperse the mayor's supporters who gathered on the city's West street in anticipation for Gumede's return to work.

Gumede was forced by the African National Congress (ANC) to take 30 days after she was charged with fraud and corruption related to the awarding of a tender worth over R200m.

Clement Manyathela on the Xolani Gwala Show chats to Eyewitness News reporter Nkosikhona Duma, South African Police Service (Saps) Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) spokesperson colonel Thembeka Mbhele and Sanef KZN regional convenor Judy Sanderson.

Protestors of Zandile Gumede gathered and told us that they wanted to welcome the mayor back to work. And to their surprise, they heard through the media that she would not return to work as her special leave had been extended. In all of this, skirmishes broke out between the protestors and the police. The protectors are now making their way to the ANC provincial offices.

Nkosikhona Duma, Reporter - EWN

He says about 10 people have been arrested by the police for public violence.

We spoke to Gumede's spokesperson, and we were told that the mayor is a disciplined member of the ANC and is abiding by the party's directive. What he did note was that Gumede has not received formal communication from ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli to tell her that she would not be returning to work.

Nkosikhona Duma, Reporter - EWN

Mbhele says there are seven people arrested for domestic violence who had gathered illegally and had blocked the road.

When the police asked them to disperse, they got aggressive and refused, that is when stun grenades were used. There is an assault case opened by one of the metro police after a reporter assaulted them and the matter is another investigation.

Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, Spokesperson - Saps KZN

When probed as to why the police were aggressive towards journalists, Mbhele had this to say:

There was a person who was obstructing the police from doing their job and that person was aggressive and the police learnt later that that person was a journalist. That person was arrested because he assaulted the police.

Colonel Thembeka Mbhele, Spokesperson - Saps KZN

In light of these developments, South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) has released a statement condemning police aggression and arrests towards journalists.

We are very disturbed with anything that interferes with the rights of a reporter to report freely and fairly. This is a major concern for us.

Judy Sanderson, Regional convenor - Sanef KZN

Listen below to the full interview:


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