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Melita Ngcobo v Minister of Police (‘Melita Ngcobo’)

Damages claim – Vusumuzi informal settlement – Ekurhuleni Municipality - reblocking


This matter stems from demolitions that were carried out in November 2019, for the purpose of re‑blocking the Vusumuzi informal settlement in Tembisa, Johannesburg. On 20 November, Abahlali baseMjondolo leader Melita Ngcobo was wrongfully arrested because she and other community members tried to stop a contractor hired by the Ekurhuleni municipality from demolishing their homes.

During the process of trying to stop the contractor, Ngcobo was assaulted by another community member who threw a stone at her, causing her to be gravely injured. When the police arrived, they arrested her initially for her own safety but was then detained after being wrongfully accused of assault. The police detained her for two nights and eventually released her on warning. She was also denied access to medical assistance for the visible injuries that she sustained from the assault in Vusumuzi.

The assault case against her was eventually dropped without reason and in 2021, Melita Ngcobo then instituted civil proceedings against the Minister of Police for her wrongful arrest and detention. On 2 March 2023, the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court found in Ngcobo’s favour ordering the Minister of Police to pay her damages.

  • See the combined summons and particulars of claim here (February 2021).
  • See the defendant's plea and amended plea here and the special plea here (March 2021).