Bail denied for Eastern Cape Sanco protest leader

Mziwebongo Burwana, the leader of the South African National Civic Organization (Sanco), faces opposition to his bail application, and the case has been postponed to April.

He is one of the ringleaders of the ongoing protests that continue to plague the area over  issues that the community is unhappy about.

This after the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) successfully opposed Burwana’s release on Wednesday.

Accosted cop, tried to shoot him, twice

According to reports, the 47-year-old civic organisation leader based in Cathcart in the Eastern Cape allegedly attacked a policeman. He wrestled his firearm away, aimed it at him and attempted to shoot it at him twice. The firearm did not discharge.

He faces charges of public violence, robbery with aggravating circumstances. Also  attempted murder, as well as illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

Ongoing violent protests in the area

The NPA said the charges emanate from the ongoing violent protests that have led to closures of the N6 road. The road passes through the town of Cathcart.

“It is alleged that on February 23, 2024, trucks were burnt and private vehicles were pelted with stones as part of protests,” said NPA spokesperson, Luxolo Tyali.

Reports say when police responded, they came under attack. One of the police officers,  the complainant,  was hit from behind and fell.

“When the firearm did not discharge, the accused (Burwana) allegedly fled the scene. He  was only arrested three days later,” Tyali added.

The protests followed rumours that the provincial department of health plans to downgrade Cathcart Hospital. This came after officials visited the hospital and staff were overheard talking about it becoming a day hospital.

Court opposed bail on grounds of safety, security

Prosecutor Jongile Yako persuaded the court that Burwana’s release on bail would jeopardise public safety and threaten public order. It will also hinder security for the investigating officer’s evidence.

“The bail application had to be moved from Cathcart to Mdantsane after court staff came under attack from protestors and had to be rescued by police.”

The case has been postponed to April 5, 2024.

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