On 2 March 2023, the Tembisa Magistrate’s Court awarded Abahlali baseMjondolo’s Melita Ngcobo civil damages in a matter against the Minister of Police for her wrongful arrest in 2019. Ngcobo was wrongfully arrested when she and other community members tried to stop a municipally‑appointed contractor from carrying out demolitions in the Vusumuzi informal settlement in Tembisa, Johannesburg. The demolitions were being carried out as part of the Municipality’s re-blocking initiative carried out for the purposes of reorganising the informal settlement in order to create roads and introduce basic services infrastructure.
When the demolitions were being carried out, in November 2019, Ngcobo was assaulted by another community member who threw a stone at her, causing her to be gravely injured. When the police arrived, Ngcobo was taken away by the police for her own safety but was later arrested and detained for two days. She was held in custody and denied medical attention despite her having suffered serious injuries.
- Read more about the case and access all the papers here.