Pagad cries foul over trio's arrest
Three members of Pagad were arrested on the eve of the organisation's meeting with Cape Town city officials to discuss applications to march through the streets of Manenberg and Mitchell's Plain.
Yesterday, the organisation's spokesman, Cassiem Parker, said its national coordinator, Abdus-Salaam Ebrahim, and members Farouk Francis and Salie Behardien were arrested in the early hours of Thursday in connection with a shooting.
Parker said Pagad, People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, believed that the arrests were a "set up" engineered by the authorities to stop its protests.
The men, who were detained at three police stations, were released late on Friday.
Gang violence has claimed the lives of dozens of people on the Cape Flats this year and has become a nightmare for the police.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Traut said a charge of attempted murder was "withdrawn against the three suspects".
Parker said that, despite the arrests, Pagad met city officials on Friday to discuss the application to stage the marches - in Manenberg on September 2 and Mitchell's Plain on September 30.
"The captain in charge of public order policing found it necessary to use these arrests to oppose the legal protests," said Parker.
He said the police said they could not approve a march when the organisation's national coordinator had been arrested.
Parker said they were told that Pagad was involved in "unlawful activities" and its previous misdemeanours were discussed.
Ebrahim spent years behind bars for public violence. Several Pagad members have been imprisoned for crimes ranging from murder to the possession of explosive devices.
Parker said that though Pagad's only goal was to work against gangsters and crime, there was a "conspiracy" against the organisation. According to Parker, police intelligence had warned that the safety of Manenberg residents could not be guaranteed if the march went ahead. Another concern was that the proposed route had "too many drug dealers".
"If they know where the drug dealers are, why are they not arresting these people?" he said.
City of Cape Town spokesman, Kylie Hatton said the Manenberg march was not approved but the Mitchell's Plain march was.