Student slams Zuma 'bullies'
2/18/2010 9:16:00 AM
Cape Town - UCT student Chumani Maxwele, who was arrested last week for allegedly pointing his middle finger at President Jacob Zuma as he drove past in a blue-light convoy, has said he was not protesting against the president or the ANC.
"My protest is against police officers who have the mentality that they can take the law into their own hands," Maxwele told Die Burger on Wednesday.
Maxwele maintained he didn't point his middle finger, but waved the convoy away, saying "hamba" (go away) because the convoy made a noise.
"I didn't even know it was Zuma's convoy."
He believed he had fallen victim to "irrational bullies who thought they were big shots".
Maxwele, an ANC member from Woodstock, was jogging on Wednesday last week when the convoy drove past.
One of the vehicles stopped and he was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest and crimen injuria.
He had to get into the vehicle. Police pulled a bag over his head and held him for almost 24 hours. He was first taken to the Rondebosch police station and later to the Mowbray police station, where he was held until Thursday afternoon.
Maxwele was never informed that the charges had been withdrawn, and learned of this in the media.
He decided to talk about his ordeal as "so many rights are infringed on by people who claim they have the highest responsibility to enforce the law".
"This story is about an athlete who was harassed and humiliated, and is not about his involvement with the ANC or any other institution."
That is why Maxwele would not say where he was from or what he studied.
Meanwhile, Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, visited the Mowbray police station on Wednesday. She wanted to act in her supervisory role to learn of the circumstances in which Maxwele was detained.
"If a person is arrested because he pointed a finger at the president's convoy, we will go the same way as Zimbabwe. It has to be stopped now."
Zille described the incident as a "serious misuse of power".
She also discussed the matter at a meeting with Nathi Mthethwa, the minister of police.
Robert McDonald, Zille's spokesperson, said Mthethwa asked her to compile a report about the incident.
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