EFF leader in court after alleged assault

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Chris Hani EFF labour desk leader Masibulele Booi, who was charged with failing to wear a mask in public and assaulting a police officer, appeared in court on Monday.

Booi allegedly hit one of the police officers with his elbow while resisting arrest. His case was postponed to March 4.

Booi was arrested by the police in Komani Street on Thursday while walking in public without a face mask. He spent two days locked up and was released on Saturday morning. However, he seemed to have a different view of the allegations against him.

He said the police had deliberately manipulated the system by falsely laying a second charge of assault to keep him behind bars. This has led him to suspect that there was a political ploy under the surface.

“I was walking down the street. A number of police vehicles approached. I was called out for not wearing a mask within a few metres of the EFF office. I quickly ran to get my mask and four officers chased me. They got me before I could reach my desk.

“There were about 11 police officers. How can I assault police officers who were armed? I was handcuffed and taken to the police station. After they removed the handcuffs it turned out my mask was in my pocket all along.”

He said the police refused to allow him to inform his family, which he felt violated his rights. One officer called provincial EFF chair Yazini Thetyana to inform him about his arrest.

Before his belongings were taken away from him, he managed to sneak in a call to Enoch Mgijima EFF chief whip Luthando Amos to make his way to the police station.

“When Amos arrived I told him what had happened. He went to speak with the police and sai they would keep me till Saturday for misconduct.

Amos left and did not inform the sub-region executive about my arrest.” Neither was his family informed, he said.

Amos said: “The police said they were assaulted by Booi when they asked him to put a mask on. The provincial office, through Tetyana, was aware of the incident and he sent me to the police station to investigate.”

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