INTRODUCTION: A black South African civic leader, Dr.Nthato Motlana, has been acquitted by the Johannesburg Regional Court of charges under the Riotous Assemblies Act.He said the court's 'not guilty' verdict given on Tuesday (22 September) showed "justice still exists in South Africa".
SV Dr. Motlana, Messrs. Mosala and Manthata exit from court with other blacks and counsel
SV PAN Dr. Motlana walking down court steps
CU Dr. Motlana interviewed by Visnews reporter Kevin Hamilton
SEQ. 3: HAMILTON: "Dr. Motlana, this case has been hanging over your head for a year now. You've all been acquitted...how do you feel?"
MOTLANA: "Well, I feel quite confident you know, that justice still exists in South Africa, and many who doubt that it does, that we will be acquitted."
HAMILTON: "On what grounds?"
MOTLANA: "We called the meeting because the chairman of the community council, Mr. David Thebali, had said that the question of rentals is now his entire responsibility, that the government would not be raising or lowering rents, he would. And on that basis we called the meeting knowing full well that could not be considered as a political meeting, but a civic meeting of the people of Soweto to consider what really concerns them."
HAMILTON: "Part of the defence argument was that blacks don't have political rights and therefore can't attend political meetings. Is that something that you think black people will use in future cases?"
MOTLANA: "No way. I can't agree that blacks are not involved in the political process. I can't agree therefore with my learned counsel that blacks have therefore no effects on the central government. I believe South African politics is all about black politics. In fact Margaret Bollinger, the famous campaigner for black rights who was then an M.P. said at the time that all South African politics in native politics."
REPORTER: KEVIN HAMILTON, VISNEWS
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Background: INTRODUCTION: A black South African civic leader, Dr.Nthato Motlana, has been acquitted by the Johannesburg Regional Court of charges under the Riotous Assemblies Act.He said the court's 'not guilty' verdict given on Tuesday (22 September) showed "justice still exists in South Africa".
SYNOPSIS: Dr.Motlana and two of his associates on the Soweto Committee of Ten, Mr.Leonard Mosala, and Mr.Tom Manthata, had been charged with convening and addressing an illegal meeting of blacks in Soweto last year.
They could have faced up to a year in goal but the defence counsel argued the meeting was to discuss civic, rather than political issues.