#FeesMustFall activist still waiting for his trial to start

2018-04-26 20:51
Masixole Mlandu (Netwerk24)

Masixole Mlandu (Netwerk24)

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The long-awaited trial of University of Cape Town student activist Masixole Mlandu, for alleged incidents related to the fight for free education, was postponed in the Wynberg Regional Court on Thursday.

"The case was postponed to May 3," said his lawyer, Lufuno Musetsho.

His trial on four charges related to the Fees Must Fall protests that swept the country in 2015 and 2016, was supposed to have started on Thursday, but didn't go ahead because there was outstanding paperwork.

Mlandu faces four charges: public violence, the violation of a court order (which restricted entrance to the campus), intimidation and malicious damage to property.

"He has pleaded not guilty," said Musetsho.

OPINION: We are exiled from within 

Mlandu told News24 that he was confident in the case that he would present with his attorney, but also felt that students should be forgiven for their participation in the events which led to a shift in how higher education was funded.

"At the moment, when free education is announced in the country, students who pushed for it should not be punished," said Mlandu. "Surely we should forgive students for participating."

He added that a sense of reconciliation was needed.

'I am optimistic'

He had made representations to the National Prosecuting Authority for the case against him to be withdrawn, but was unsuccessful.

"I'm not happy to be in court, but I am optimistic that it will finally come to an end," he said.

In the meantime, he is studying towards an Honours degree in Political Science, after graduating with a degree in Political Science on April 6. At one point, he risked being kicked out for good.

He said the case has taken its toll on him, in terms of the number of times he missed classes to attend court and prepare for the case, as well as the psychological worries associated with being on trial.

In the meantime, the university has recommended that he be granted amnesty for his role in the protests, but the recommendation still has to be approved by the university's council.

Mlandu was at the forefront of a massive move for fee-free education and for the Rhodes Must Fall protests, which led to a statue of Cecil John Rhodes being removed from UCT's campus as many students demanded the decolonisation of educational institutions.

WATCH: Aerial footage: Rhodes statue removed at UCT

They also protested over student accommodation shortages in the Shackville protest, where a shack was erected at UCT to highlight the issues.

Read more on:    masixole mlandu  |  feesmustfall

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