More students denied bail

2016-10-18 11:33
UKZN students protesting outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate Court in support of arrested UKZN students.

UKZN students protesting outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate Court in support of arrested UKZN students. (File)

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Three more allegedly violent University of KwaZulu-Natal students have been denied bail by a Pietermaritzburg magistrate.

They are Xabiso Mantanga, Nduduzo Nsibande and Sicelo Qwabe.

This brings to 10 the number of UKZN students who have been refused bail so far since seven of the so-called “UKZN 11” were remanded in custody last week pending the finalisation of their trial.

Magistrate M. Boikhutso yesterday granted bail of R1 000 each to five other students on strict conditions.

Those given bail are Yonga Makhaula, Thembela Ncxokile, Spetho Mazibuko, Siphilele Mtshali and Sanele Sibiya.

Makhaula and Ncxokile were part of a group of five students who were “trapped” in a passage at the William O’Brien residence by police after violence on the Pietermaritzburg campus on October 1. Boikhutso said because they officially lived in the residence, it was possible they might have been in the passage “by chance”. However, she was satisfied that Mantanga, Nsibande and Qwabe were identified as part of the “violent” group of protesters who were chased into the residence by police and security guards and trapped in the passage, leading to their arrest.

According to the investigating officer, the security guards never lost sight of the violent protesters they chased into the residence.

The five who were arrested were trapped in the passage, but other protesters had managed to get away.

The magistrate said the case of three other students she gave bail to on Monday — Mazibuko, Mtshali and Sibiya — was “different”.

This was because the state had not explained the circumstances under which they were apprehended, and Mazibuko had explained how he came to be arrested, she said.

The trio were arrested on the night of September 30, following violent protests at the entrance to the residence which resulted in stones, bottles and an “assortment of dangerous” items being thrown at police. The investigating officer had said in his affidavit that members of the police were injured and property was damaged.

However, all he stated regarding the arrests of Mazibuko, Mtshali and Sibiya was that they “were identified in the process and arrested by the SAPS K9 unit”.

She said Mazibuko had come clean in his affidavit about how he came to be arrested that night.

“He told us that indeed there was a fight that day between students from Malherbe and WOB residences. He stated that he waited until the situation had been calmed by the police and decided to leave to go and buy food with accused 2 [Mtshali] at 10 pm.”

Boikhutso said Mazibuko had said he was never part of the protesting student group, and that he distanced himself from the protests saying he simply wanted to write his exams.

She said the evidence given by the state opposing bail for the trio was “not strong enough”, and the court would require more information in order to refuse bail.

The five students released on bail (as well as the seven released last week) must move from campus to the alternative addresses they had provided.

“You may not be seen in and around campus save to attend lectures or write exams,” she warned the students.

Another condition of bail is that they may not take part in any protests or demonstrations that are violent, or that may result in violence.

If any of them breach the conditions, their bail money would be revoked and they would spend the rest of their awaiting-trial period in jail, she warned.

Although the public gallery was filled with supporters of the eight accused students yesterday, the crowd was quiet and subdued.

No protesters gathered in or around the courthouse yesterday as they had when the UKZN 11 appeared.

Pietermaritzburg attorney Andre Chetty confirmed yesterday afternoon that he had been instructed to bring a bail appeal in the Pietermaritzburg high court as soon as possible, for all 10 UKZN students who have been denied bail to date.

The students face charges of public violence, malicious injury to property, assault, possession of dangerous weapons and contempt of a high court interdict banning violent protests on UKZN campuses.

Read more on:    ukzn  |  #feesmustfall  |  pietermaritzburg  |  student protests

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