By Ilhaam Hoosain
14 March 2008
In the Athlone magistrate's court five men have appeared on charges of theft, a week after the disappearance of the life-size bronze statues of struggle heroes Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch.
According to a daily newspaper one of the five accused, Moegamat Ely, handed himself over to the police on Wednesday after being sought for several days by, after they questioned 10 suspects following the theft.
Hendrik Simon, Sedick Clarke, Alfonso Langeveldt and Yusuf Moses and Ely were neighbours from Oleander Street in Bonteheuwel.
The five were remanded until their next court appearance on March 20 when they are expected to apply for bail.
Pieter van Dalen claims that the people who steal copper are working for a syndicate and says that the syndicate king pin rents out horse carts and old bakkies. The horse carts are loaned for R100 a day and the bakkies for R250.
“People don’t have jobs and they are tik addicts, and they take the car in the day and they know they have to pay that money, so they need to steal something or get scrap to pay that vehicle at the end of the day. I think it was a combination of monetary motivation and then the drug issue,” explains van Dalen.Who was Coline Williams and Robbie Waterwitch?
Umkhonto we Sizwe "Spear of the Nation," was the active military wing of the African National Congress in co-operation with the South African Communist Party in their fight against the South African apartheid government.
Subsequently classified as a terrorist organisation by the South African government and media, Umkhonto we Sizwe was banned.
Shirley Gunn from the Human Rights Media Centre says Williams and Waterwitch were part of the milatary group.
“The night that they fell, that was Robbie’s first operation and Coline had a few under her belt. She was Robbie’s commander and it’s still a little bit of a mystery as to how the device detonated and they died. The bottom line is that they died in the line of duty,” says Gunn.Gunn explains how the events unfolded
“They convened in a park, (and) met their immediate commander, they were prepared and ready. And the next thing we heard over the radio was that they died next to the toilets.”Toll free number provided for queries or reports
Van dalen says members of the community can call 0800 222 771 to report cable theft in their area.