Fees Must Fall activist pleads guilty to public violence, being in SA illegally

2020-03-09 21:07
Mcebo Dlamini. (Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

Mcebo Dlamini. (Gallo Images / Foto24 / Felix Dlangamandla)

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Fees Must Fall activist Mcebo Freedom Dlamini was on Monday sentenced to two years and six months in jail, wholly suspended for five years, in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court for public violence and contravening the provisions of the Immigration Act.

Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane told Jacaranda News Dlamini had approached the NPA wanting to plead guilty.

He was sentenced to two years on a charge of public violence and six months for being in the country illegally. The plea bargain was accepted and the NPA stopped the prosecution on the remaining charges, Mjonondwane told the radio station.

Swazi-born Dlamini faced charges of violating a court order, public violence, assault, theft, and damage to property in relation to a 2016 protest at the University of the Witwatersrand. 

He was arrested in October 2016 and was released on R2 000 bail in November in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court.

Dlamini posted on Facebook on Monday: "Today marked the end of my legal career. The court found me guilty of public violence and sentenced me to two years [and] six months… Suspended sentence of five years.

"I will take time to reflect on my future moving forward including my political career."

According to the plea, Dlamini states that he initially pleaded not guilty to all six charges in November 2019.

"Having subsequently consulted with my legal team, I freely and voluntarily, wish to change my plea in respect of Counts 1, Public Violence and Count 6, a contravention of section 49(1)(a) of the immigration Act 13 of 2002, to one of guilty," the plea date March 2020 reads.

Dlamini in his papers indicated that he was born in Mbabane, Swaziland on 17 December 1986 to Witness Nkosinigphile Dlamini.

He  had been raised by his aunt, who he thought was his parent, while his biological mother sought work in South Africa.

He obtained a student visa in 2012 to study at the University of Witwatersrand. He had been living in SA since 2002.

Dlamini states that he later learnt through Witness, a South African citizen, that she was his biological mother. Witness applied for a late registration of his birth. 

The Department of Home Affairs subsequently approved the late registration and issued Dlamini with a South African identity number.

During the 2016 arrest, Home Affairs conducted an investigation into his status as a citizen and Dlamini was asked to subject himself to a DNA test within 14-days.

He had failed to do so timeously.

His mother died in May 2018 and as a result, his status as a citizen and his identity number was revoked, he said.

Although he still intends to prove that he is the biological child of Witness, Dlamini admits his failure to do so made him guilty of contravening the provisions of the Immigration Act.

Dlamini said he intended to apply for a Presidential pardon as his "activities" were politically motivated.

Read more on:    mcebo dlamini  |  fees must fall

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