UP students arrested as protests continue

DITEBOGO TSHAKA, KEMELO SEHLAPELO AND MARKO SVICEVIC

Three UP students have been arrested over the last two weeks in connection to this year’s protests.

On 11 October, following the continuation of protest action at UP’s Prinshof campus, EFFSC-UP chairperson and Fees Must Fall representative Amla Monageng was arrested outside the Prinshof campus. Monageng was arrested by Brooklyn SAPS and taken to the Moot police station in Gezina. The following day, Monageng appeared in the Pretoria Magistrates Court where his bail hearing was postponed to 19 October and remained in police custody till then.

Monageng was initially charged with public violence and malicious destruction of property. The UP Fees Must Fall Facebook page claimed that Monageng was “unlawfully arrested” as he was taken into police custody “while he was innocently standing on the pavement outside Prinshof”.

On 19 October, Monageng appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for his bail hearing. During his hearing, two additional charges were added against Monageng. These included assault and kidnapping, and hijacking, which allegedly took place during the Afrikaans Must Fall protest action earlier this year. The prosecution did not disclose any further details as to the two additional charges and a debate ensued between the prosecution and the defence as to the timing of these charges.

Monageng was granted bail of Rl1500 and is due to appear in court again on 26 October 2016.

On 18 October, former SRC president Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba was arrested outside the Lunnon gate entrance to UP’s Hatfield campus. According to Brigadier Sally de Beer, SAPS could not confirm the identity of the person arrested but said that a 24-year old male had been arrested.

Rasethaba appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court later that day for his bail hearing, which was postponed to 25 October. Rasethaba is currently awaiting his bail hearing at Kgosi Mampuru II correctional centre.

On 19 October, EFFSC national spokesperson and one of four female activists involved in the “Remember Khwezi” silent protests, Naledi Chirwa was also arrested. Chirwa was arrested and charged with contravening a court order. According to the state prosecutor, “The accused disregarded her suspension from the University of Pretoria as she was present at a mass meeting. The accused knew about her suspension as she tweeted about it”.

Chirwa was arrested in her home in Mamelodi that morning. According to a tweet by EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Chirwa was asleep with her child at the time of her arrest. She later appeared in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for her bail hearing. Chirwa was initially granted R5000 bail, which was then negotiated down to R1000 by the defence, on condition that she not be present anywhere near any of UP’s campuses. Chirwa is set to appear in court again on 11 January 2017.

These arrests come after acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said on Monday, 17 October, that a total of 567 people had been arrested during the Fees Must Fall protests in 265 cases. Phahlane explained in a briefing in Pretoria that the arrests had been made from 1 February up to date.

 

Photos: Fezekile Msimang.

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