INTRODUCTION: The trail of veteran South African trade unionist and black community leader, Oscar Mpetha, began in earnest in Cape Town on Wednesday (15 April), nine months after his arrest.
GV PAN Prison vans arriving at Supreme Court, Cape Town (2 shots)
SV & GV People lining up to enter Supreme court building (3 shots)
SCU Jan Theron speaking
SV Crowds outside Supreme Court (2 shots)
SPEECH ON FILM (TRANSCRIPT)
SEQ. 3: THERON: "At the time of his arrest, there was a great deal of tension, most of it related to a movement against increases in the bus fares which had hit working people very hard, and boycotts of busses was organised. People, particularly from the African townships were travelling to work and so on, by private transport, by taxis and so on. At the time at which he was arrested there was a concerted attempt by the authorities to prevent private transport, transporting workers to work. And on the day before his arrest he made a statement to the press, accusing the authorities of provoking the violence that subsequently followed by trying to force people out of private transport and on to buses. And it was literally within 24 hours after making that statement that he was detained under Section Six of the Terrorism Act.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The trail of veteran South African trade unionist and black community leader, Oscar Mpetha, began in earnest in Cape Town on Wednesday (15 April), nine months after his arrest. Mr. Mpetha and 18 others are charged with murder, conspiracy, and terrorism and public violence, following bus boycotts and subsequent unrest near the Crossroads squatters' camp last year.
SYNOPSIS: The trial of 71-year old Mr. Mpetha and the 18 others actually began on 3 March and has been the subject of several lengthy adjournments. The charges arise out of black bus and school boycotts which lasted for eight months. Mr. Mpetha, who is a highly respected trade unionists and civic leader, has blamed police for the unrest which led to the deaths of 30 people, including two whites. The murder charges relate to the deaths of the two whites; motorists allegedly attacked by bus boycott rioters. Among those decrying the trial is Food and Cunning Workers' General Secretary, Jam Theron.
Mr. Theron leads the union in which Mr. Mpetha is a national organiser. He joined the crowds outside the court where hundreds had gathered, hours before the trial resumed. Mr. Mpetha was President for the Cape of the African National Congress, until it was banned in 1959.