Bishop Jo Seoka visits Napoleon Webster
Last Thursday I visited an innocent man in prison – by Bishop Jo Seoka
Monday 24 April 2017
For Immediate Release
Last Thursday I paid a pastoral visit to Napoleon Webster and his co-detained in Rustenburg Jail. Napoleon moved to Marikana around a year ago and has been active in the community on many issues. But I knew of him before that. Even when he lived in Soweto he was always coming to support the Marikana victims and he also attended the Marikana Commission of Inquiry. He is one of those people who has devoted his life to helping others with matters of social justice. He is not afraid to stand up and speak truth to power. And he has over the years developed the ability to lead others and to organise in a formidable way for community development.
In December 2016 an ANC leader was brutally killed in Marikana. Subsequently, several men were rounded up and accused of murder. Napoleon was one of 13 now in total, charged with the murder of Sabata Petros Chale. Napoleon had to wait three months for a bail hearing, and then early in April he was denied bail. Yet Napoleon has several witnesses that testified he was in another part of town at the time that the murder took place. His legal defense team, the Socio Economic Rights Institute, will be presenting further evidence to show that there is no possibility that Napoleon could have committed this crime. This in itself casts doubt on the entire police case.
I sat with Napoleon on Thursday, his 104th day in jail, knowing he is an innocent man and that the police have not done their job in investigating this crime. I asked myself whether Napoleon is deliberately being targeted because his presence was making life difficult for someone or certain groups in Marikana. Napoleon is a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters, the party to which the ANC lost their majority in Marikana in the 2014 elections.
I believe this is a politically motivated arrest and that the charges should be dropped and Napoleon released immediately. I have decided to write a letter to the National Director of Public Prosecutions to ask that he inspects Napoleon’s arrest and incarceration.
Bishop Jo Seoka 0828931378