Charges against a University of the Western Cape (UWC) #FeesMustFall were withdrawn in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Thursday.
The State dropped the charges of public violence and malicious damage to property against Siyasanga Ndwayi in favour of a diversion order, his lawyer Lufuno Musetsho said.
"I wrote a letter to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a diversion order. They responded, and the charges were dropped," he said.
"What this means is that he will complete 50 hours of community service within six months. If he does not complete the community service, he will be recharged."
Diversion is a form of restorative justice, which has the goal of reintegrating an offender into a law-abiding community and preventing reoffending.
It involves offenders taking responsibility for a crime and making amends with the community.
Ndwayi, who is completing his honours degree at UWC, said he was relieved by the outcome.
"Remember, this has been going on for three years now. It has been emotionally and psychologically draining," he said.
"Because I was in and out of court, I was missing deadlines and classes. Even today, I missed a presentation because I was in court."
He explained that his position as a Student Representative Council (SRC) member played a role in his arrest.
"As a member of the SRC, it was my job to mediate discussions between students and management," he said.
"Instead of listening to the students, management deployed private security. I was the only one arrested during a confrontation between students and security. After the police fired rubber bullets and teargas, I was too dizzy to escape."
The student only had encouraging words for other activists who are still facing charges relating to their protest for free higher education.
"I would just like to remind them that we fought for a genuine and just cause. I wish them strength and courage," he said.
"Don't lose focus on the struggle. It isn't over yet."