University expels Mbeki heckler

2010-11-19 13:10

A Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student who disrupted a public lecture by former president Thabo Mbeki in September had been expelled from the institution, a university spokesman said today.

TUT spokesperson Gilbert Mokwatedi said that the disciplinary committee of TUT’s Student Judicial Services found student Sabelo Sono guilty after he pleaded guilty to the three charges of intimidation, violation of dignity and tarnishing TUT’s image.

Sono stormed into TUT’s Theunis Bester Hall on September 16 as Mbeki was giving a public lecture on war and peace in Africa.

Sono, the treasurer of TUT’s Pretoria campus student representative council, shouted “Sihamba no Zuma” (We are going with Zuma) and threw a banner at Mbeki’s feet before he was bundled out of the hall by security staff.

Mokwatedi said Sono pleaded not guilty to using abusive language and intoxication. These charges were not pursued by the university.

“Mr Sono was found guilty and has been expelled from TUT for a period of five years. He has five working days to lodge an appeal, should he decide to do so.”

He said Sono, who was studying towards a National Diploma in Information Technology, had five days to leave the campus and finalise his affairs at the institution.

Police questioned Sono over the Mbeki incident and charged him with assault.

On September 23, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson advocate Mthunzi Mhaga said the NPA had decided to withdraw the charges because there was “no evidence amounting to a prosecutable offence”.

Sono’s phone was switched off and he could not be reached for comment.

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