Man assaulted for trying to stop illegal dumpers

Welcome Mohapi points to the site where the men were illegally dumping. He was assaulted when he tried to take a picture of the men.
Welcome Mohapi points to the site where the men were illegally dumping. He was assaulted when he tried to take a picture of the men.

A BRIARDENE Informal Settlement resident was assaulted after attempting to stop men from illegally dumping at the settlement on Wednesday afternoon. Welcome Mohapi, said he had asked the men, who were using a company vehicle to dump rubbish, what they were doing. He believe the household refuse was destined for the dump but the men decided to use the settlement instead.

The 30-year-old, who is the general secretary of the Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement, an organisation that fights the inequality facing the poor, said following the assault, he was discouraged by Greenwood Park police officers who said common assault cases do not hold weight.

“I noticed the vehicle pull up and three men hop out. They began throwing bags of rubbish onto a grassy patch near some of the shacks. I asked them what they were doing and one of the men replied, ‘what is it to with me?’. I replied saying I live here, I began taking down their registration number of the vehicle and they said I could do what I want.

“It’s only when I took out my phone to take a picture of the men, one of them threw a punch, I was stunned, I wasn’t expecting anything. He tripped me and began to punch me repeatedly. He eventually let me be and said they would come back to dump in the same place. They were arrogant and didn’t seem afraid that I had taken down registration details,” he said.

Mohapi said his anger however, soon turned to disappointment when the Greenwood Park police dissuaded him from opening a case saying there wasn’t much point.

“As a leader of the community I felt incredibly let down by the police. That means I could be beaten anytime and the police would dissuade me from opening a case. I even had Durban North ward councillor Shaun Ryley with me but the police were insistent that the case would be a waste of time,” he said. 


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