Former University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Student Representative Council president and #FeesMustFall leader Mcebo Dlamini was denied bail at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Magistrate Albertus Roux said releasing Dlamini on bail would be not be in the best interest of justice because the evidence before the court proves that the accused won’t be able to maintain peaceful protests.
The 30-year-old, who was arrested at his Wits residence in the early hours on Sunday, faces charges of public violence, theft, malicious damage to property and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Roux reviewed both arguments from Dlamini’s legal representative and the State. He said since there was footage showing Dlamini assaulting a police officer and a picture of him holding a stick and stones, these facts couldn’t be overlooked.
The magistrate also indicated that Dlamini ignored a court order obtained by Wits which restrains students from disrupting the university’s normal activities, harassing and intimidating its staff or students, and causing damage to the property of the institution.
There were emotional scenes court when Roux handed down his judgement. Students were seeing crying and comforting each while others simply shook their heads in disbelief.
“We have seen today that the law works for the powerful and we know that this case and the denial of bail was very political. The goal here (court) is to keep students arrested … being intelligent is not good enough if you are poor,” said Shaeera Kalla, a Wits student leader.
She said even though their efforts might seem futile they know they will be remembered for fighting for free and decolonized education.
“This demand didn’t come about yesterday or last year, this demand has been around since 1994. It’s a promise that this very state has made and now it’s a promise they will break by all means to kill this movement and make students fearful to react,” said Kalla.
Dlamini will remain in custody until his next court appearance on November 15.
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