8 November 2012

South Africa: Cape Town Minstrel Feels 'Targeted'

Photo: Melissa Britz
Cape Town Minstrels

The head of a minstrels' association has accused the City of Cape Town of "targeting him".

Richard 'Pot' Stemmet made the claim on Thursday after criminal charges against him were withdrawn in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.

Stemmet, chairman of the Cape Town Minstrels' Carnival Association, said he believed he was the target of the metro police. They arrested him on March 4 for drunken driving and possession of a firearm and tik. He appeared in court on Tuesday, where the charges were withdrawn.

"There was nothing [for them to go on]," he said on Thursday.

"It was a lack of evidence. It's the same story over and over."

Metro police said in a statement in March that they arrested "a well-known drug high-flyer" while raiding a suspected drug den in Steenberg.

On Thursday, Stemmet said: "They [the police] said I was looking drunk, but I wasn't. There was an argument and then they said there was a gun in the car, but it was a legal one. They then told us there was tik in the car, but there wasn't."

He claimed the city "targeted" him every year when he applied for permits for the minstrels' New Year's march, better known as "Tweede Nuwejaar" in Cape Town.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila was not yet in a position to comment on the withdrawal of charges.

Safety and security mayoral member JP Smith said Stemmet complained every year but had never been denied a permit.

"It's tiring and tedious," Smith said.

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