567 Fees Must Fall protesters arrested since February

Cape Town – A total of 567 people have been arrested during Fees Must Fall protests over the last eight months, acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane said on Monday.

The charges included violence, intimidation, and malicious damage to property. The arrests were made in 265 cases, he told reporters.

He refuted claims that police were targeting specific individuals, as had been suggested in the case of axed Wits University SRC president Mcebo Dlamini.

“The role of the police is to prevent, investigate and combat crime and to maintain stability. Those who commit acts of criminality will be investigated and when sufficient evidence is obtained, arrests will be effected.”

He said Dlamini was arrested because he had allegedly committed a crime. It was investigated, a docket was presented to the National Prosecuting Authority, and a warrant of arrest was issued.

“On that basis, he was approached and invited to a police station, and he will remain in detention until the courts take a decision in this regard.”

Dlamini was expected to apply for bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

‘No police takeover’

Phahlane stressed that claims, made on social media, that police had “taken over” control of universities across the country, were not true.

“We wish to place it on record that the Saps has not taken over operation control of any institution of learning the country. The management and security within the institutions of higher learning remain the responsibility of the university concerned.”

He however said police would continue doing their jobs, as determined by the Constitution, despite “irresponsible” reporting and propaganda spread through the media.

Trial by social media

He claimed the latest allegations that female Wits students were attacked, assaulted and randomly shot at were untrue, and that no evidence was found to support them.

He appealed to anyone who had received such treatment to open a criminal case and to provide witness’s names and evidence to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid).

Phahlane said a News24 journalist in Durban who was wrongfully arrested two weeks ago had the right to file a complaint with Ipid. Officers snatched Kaveel Singh’s phone and deleted images he took.
He said this was not allowed.

“If a case has been reported with the police it will be investigated, and if any one of us have been found to have contradicted our disciplinary code, he or she will be dealt with.”

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