Delay in appearance of UCT students, as wrong man brought to court

2016-10-06 11:20
Wynberg Magistrate's Court (Tammy Petersen, News24)

Wynberg Magistrate's Court (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - The appearance of UCT student activist Zukisa Sokhaya on a charge of assault got off to a false start on Thursday, when the wrong person was brought out of the holding cells of the Wynberg Magistrate's Court.

Students were uncharacteristically quiet when a man in a loose sleeveless T-shirt and sag pants, revealing tartan boxers, made himself comfortable in the dock. 

He did not flinch when he was called Sokhaya.

After a few minutes, prosecutor Deshnie Naidoo said the wrong man was in the dock.

The unnamed accidental imposter was taken back down to the holding cells and court was adjourned.

Students immediately demanded to know where Sokhaya was.

Masixole Mlandu and another student activist were also expected to appear in another court in the building.

"Where is he? It is more than 48 hours since his arrest."

Outside the court in the corridor, students could be heard complaining loudly about the delay and the 48-hour rule.

The rule is considered sacrosanct after the apartheid government's policy of detention without trial, which enabled the imprisonment of opponents indefinitely without any due process.

Sokhaya's lawyer admitted that he did not know what his client looked like, while Naidoo tried to reassure them that officials were trying to locate him.

The students were asked to leave while the rest of the roll went ahead, but refused to budge.

They tut-tutted as court officials told them to stop chatting amongst themselves, with many sitting on laps because standing was not allowed.

Read more on:    uct  |  cape town  |  university fees  |  university protests

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