‘UKZN 11’ appear in court

2016-10-05 06:00

A TOTAL of 11 students from the University of KwaZulu- Natal, Pietermaritzburg­ campus, appeared in court last Friday facing three charges each.

The students, who were arrested last Thursday following a violent standoff with the police, each face charges of public violence, failure to comply with police and interference with police work with two more charges to be added.

The 11 were part of a group of university students, who embarked on protest action and barricaded roads with rocks, rubbish and furniture.

They are demanding free education following an announcement by minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande that universities and colleges can increase 2017 tuition fees by no more than eight percent.

During their brief appearance in court, the state said it intends to oppose bail citing that the 11 posed a danger to current students and the university.

The state said the 11 took part in an illegal demonstration after the university had obtained an interdict against protesting students.

The state also said the students burnt property, including the Malherbe residence on Durban Road and restricted the fire fighters from getting to the residence to put out the fire.

Magistrate M. Boikhutso said the 11 will remain in custody until 30 September for their next court appearance.

Upon hearing the court’s decision, fellow students, who had packed the public gallery, walked out and broke into song with their fists up.

As they gathered outside court to discuss their next move, others could be heard saying there was nothing more they could do to reverse the court’s decision.

Magistrate Boikhutso warned that the students should behave during court proceedings.

“If they continue behaving in this manner, they will join their friends in the cells,” she said.

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