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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2020

Free Siyanda Mngaza

Siyanda

Siyanda   (Click to enlarge)

Cammilla Mngaza

Siyanda Mngaza is currently serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for defending herself against a racially motivated hate crime.

Siyanda worked for the South Wales Fire Service in human resources - recruiting fire fighters. She had never been in trouble before.

In May 2019, at a campsite in Brecon, Wales, she was attacked, without provocation, by a family group she was socialising with. One of them pushed Siyanda. The other two started to hurl racial slurs and threatened to kill her.

The woman - and two men nearly twice Siyanda's age - ran towards her and began to punch her. Siyanda defended herself, resulting in a slight cut to the forehead of one of the attackers.

Siyanda herself was beaten badly - with stamps and kicks to her head and upper body. She was knocked unconscious.

When she came to, they were no longer hitting her. But she saw them beating up her partner and tried to help him. Fortunately, Siyanda's partner stopped them attacking her again, which allowed Siyanda to hide behind parked cars.

Siyanda asked for help at nearby tents. Someone told her to go to the nearby pub. As she reached the end of the campsite, a policeman pulled up in his car and arrested her.

Siyanda explained what had happened, but instead of protecting her, the police treated Siyanda like a criminal. They did not investigate the hate crime. They even allowed her attackers to continue to verbally abuse her after she'd been arrested.

The police put Siyanda's aggressors to bed at the camp site, as they were highly intoxicated. They held Siyanda at Brecon police station for 20 hours.

When I collected her, the investigating officer said: "We have five witnesses saying you injured someone deliberately. You need to help us find potential witnesses and provide proof that you were attacked."

Siyanda's CT scan at the hospital showed:

But we discovered at the trial that the police had not provided the Crown Prosecution Service with photographs of Siyanda's injuries - including a footprint on her face. The investigating officer told the court that his supervisor had told him not to obtain Siyanda's medical records and not to continue to investigate the hate crime.

The witnesses - all friends and family - stated no one had touched Siyanda. But the jury saw the photographic evidence and heard the shock confession by the investigating police officer. They still found Siyanda guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent and she was sent to prison.

Self-defence is no offence. Siyanda does not belong in prison. We are building a campaign to get Siyanda released - and to ensure that no one else has to suffer from institutional racism in future at the hands the police, the Crown Prosecution Service and the judicial system.

Please affiliate your trade union branches, your trade union councils and your trade unions nationally to the Free Siyanda campaign at freesiyanda.com

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 7 October 2020:


Coronavirus news

Tories put profit first: Gambling with our jobs and lives

Massive testing 'glitch' caused by privatised fragmentation

Contact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

Under the microscope


Workplace news

Unison: Hugo Pierre's fighting programme to transform the union

Equity 'Panto Parade' demands more support for arts workers

Tate strike suspended

Ikea day of action

York couriers' strike


News

Fight for jobs and homes for all - defend the right to asylum

Spooks step up surveillance of left

Probation Service: 'angry, frustrated' staff need fighting lead


Students

Cardiff student protest demands: 'refund our fees!'

Southampton students oppose unjust collective punishment


Black History Month

Non-fiction: 'Why I no longer talk to white people about race'


International

Worldwide capitalist crisis deepens - step up the fight for socialism

'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

Germany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise


Campaigns

9,000 for education by Netflix

Free Siyanda Mngaza

Leicester: Don't let them close our hospital

Waltham Forest: Council picks over 60 sites for mass gentrification

Say no to finance capital-backed luxury tower block in Enfield

Socialist Party: Campaigning for the NHS

Final total: 73,586 raised - now let's do it again

Defend Bracknell Community Services


Readers' opinion

Film: 'Sick' - 'They've got people looking in the wrong direction'

The Socialist Inbox


 

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