Cape Town courts hearing students' cases

2015-10-22 10:30
Supporters wait outside Cape Town Magistrate's Court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Supporters wait outside Cape Town Magistrate's Court. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town – A bid to stop police from using excessive force against protesting students, and the case against 29 arrested students were being dealt with by two Cape Town courts on Thursday.

Outside the magistrate’s court, lawyer for the students, Ashref Mohamed, said two groups of students, one of 23, and the other of 6, would have their cases combined. They faced charges of illegal gathering and trespassing, but not treason. The case was expected to be heard around 11:00.

At the high court, Legal Resources attorney Charlene May told reporters that a group of 10 parents and students had brought an application on behalf of a larger group of students for an urgent interdict to stop the police from using excessive force against protesters.

She said talks were under way in the judge’s chambers for an agreement to be reached so that a draft order could be made. Police would oppose the application.

The cases follow protests by students against fee increases, which spilled into the parliamentary precinct during Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene's mid-term budget speech on Wednesday afternoon.

"I am anticipating that one of the main issues will be that the protesters or the students didn't bring an application to get permission to protest," said May.

"And then of course I think that there was a lot of anxiety around the fact that the protest took place at Parliament. And so we are talking about the National Key Points Act and the Gatherings Act and whether or not, if there are future protests, there is a possibility that students can obtain permission before they engage in any protest actions. And that is something we will have to take instructions on."

One mother said outside the court that she protested in the seventies and was very proud of her son, a first year maths and physics student, who was part of the group of 23.

"He is not doing it for himself because we can afford the fees. He is doing it for everyone," she said.

Read more on:    nhlanhla nene  |  cape town  |  education  |  university fees  |  protests

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