By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO magistrate, Adelaide Mbeure was Thursday called to reprimand some Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) officials and their supporters who turned up in court dressed in their traditional headgear.
This was during a brief court appearance by six people, who include officials of the radical pro-Matebeleland opposition who were arrested for staging a violent demonstration at a Bulawayo Pick ‘n Pay supermarket branch.
The accused group comprises two former Pick ‘n Pay employees.
They were arrested last week following protests over alleged nepotism at a Bulawayo branch of the leading supermarket chain.
Before court proceedings Thursday, Mbeure expressed her reservations through the accused’s lawyer, Prince Bhutshe Dube about the traditional headgear which was worn by some of his clients and their followers in her court.
“Please your clients should respect the court by wearing appropriate attire. This is a serious place,” said Mbeure.
In his response, Dube said he had tried to advise his clients not to enter the court with the headdress but they were adamant this was a gear that was consistent with their Ndebele culture.
Dube however promised to talk it over with his clients so that they do not wear the same gear during their next court appearance.
Mbeure on Saturday granted the group $100 bail each while one of them, Welcome Moyo was removed from remand after the State had failed to link him with the offence.
The six are accused of contravening Section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act).
Last week, a group of former Pick n Pay employees together with the MRP officials stormed the supermarket demanding to be reinstated while claiming unfair dismissal.
The protesters, who claimed that they were dismissed on tribal grounds, declared that the shop would remain closed until management had renewed their contracts.
Dube, from Abameli Lawyers for Human Rights, successfully applied for bail after the State had strongly opposed their release saying the suspects were a flight risk.
The accused were also ordered to remain staying at their given addresses as well as not to interfere with State witnesses.
They were also ordered not to visit Pick ‘n Pay Hyper except when they were there for shopping.
The accused are Xolani Ncube (parliamentary candidate for Pumula), Collen Khabani Mangena (parliamentary candidate for Nkayi), Partone Xaba (parliamentary candidate for Nkulumani), Welcome Moyo (council candidate ward 5 Byo), Wisdom Mkhwananzi (MRP official), Try Ndiweni (Pick n Pay employee) and Seji Ncube (Pick n Pay employee).
Their trial is set to commence on the 19th of this month.
Meanwhile, one of the suspects, Trevor Wisdom Mkhwananzi, who was heavily assaulted by the police during the protest, accused the law enforcement agents of refusing to issue him with a police report concerning his alleged assault.
“I wanted to report my assault case to the police but they are refusing to entertain my case, insisting that I should positively identify the police officer who assaulted me. That will be impossible because I was assaulted by riot police when I was arrested,” said Mkhwananzi in an interview.