SERI join the struggle to #FreeNapoleonWebster

Issued by: Marikana Support Campaign and Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI)
Monday 10th April, 2017SERI join the struggle to #FreeNapoleonWebster

The Marikana support campaign would like to announce that the Socio-Economic Rights Institute have agreed to join the struggle for the release of unjustly detained Marikana activist Napoleon Webster.

SERI have a long history of struggling alongside the community of Marikana for justice having represented the families of the deceased at the Lonmin Marikana Massacre of August 2012. SERI have agreed to provide, on a pro-bono basis, an experienced team to ensure Napoleon is freed to continue his bold calls for Justice for Marikana.

The first task the newly appointed legal team will be to attend to is the urgent appeal in the High Court of Magistrate Van Wyk decision of Tuesday 4th April in the Rustenburg Magistrate court to deny Napoleon bail. Napoleon, along with 12 others, is charged with the murder of an ANC councilor in early December 2016. All men deny involvement in the murder. Several witnesses have testified that Napoleon was in another part of Marikana when the crime took place.

This Sunday will mark 100 days since the arrest of Napoleon Webster. The bail hearing lasted an excruciating 88 days with approximately 20 court appearances with several postponements being made due to scheduling issues, failure of court equipment and lack of resources available for the smooth and speedy administration of justice at the court.

The Marikana Support Campaign has stated from the outset that the arrests are motivated by the protection of the mining companies and politicians associated with them. State resources are being used to intimidate and silence activists based in Marikana, especially Napoleon who has called for:

  1. Legal justice towards the victims of the 2012 Lonmin Marikana massacre;
  2. Lonmin to honor commitments regarding living conditions of mineworkers and the local community as set out in their Social Labour Plan;
  3. Cyril Ramaphosa to acknowledge he has blood on his hands in relation to the 2012 Lonmin massacre; and
  4. Tharisa mine to take responsibility for the displacement of a section of the Marikana community for them to conduct their mining operations.

The Marikana Support Campaign supports the intention to appeal the denial of bail for the accused because we believe that justice delayed is justice denied, we call for the Marikana activists to be released on bail as soon as possible without further unnecessary delays. The Marikana Support Campaign, SERI and Napoleon Webster would also like to extend their deep gratitude to Attorney Leofi Leshabana who has diligently represented Napoleon to date.

For further information contact:

Bishop Jo Seoka

Nigel Branken

On behalf of Marikana Support Campaign and SERI

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