Charges of public violence against four DA members were withdrawn in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Thursday.
“The NPA can confirm that the charges were withdrawn in court today due to insufficient evidence,” spokesman Velekhaya Mgobhozi said.
Democratic Alliance MP Marius Redelinghuys, DA Cape metro chairman Shaun August, and two other party members were arrested by riot police in Cape Town ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s state-of-the-nation address on February 12.
DA spokeswoman Phumzile van Damme said riot police rushed at DA supporters with shields and batons, citing “instructions from above” to remove them from Adderley Street “before the president comes”.
“Water cannons were fired into the backs of supporters who posed no threat to the police and were trying to escape harm,” she said.
Redelinghuys said the charges were bullying tactics by the police and the party would lay a complaint.
“The withdrawal vindicates the DA’s view that the charges were baseless and part of the bully boy tactics by the police used to clamp down on legitimate political activity,” he said.
“The DA still intends to lay a complaint with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate for the brutal and unnecessary force used by the police when they arrested us.”