Two students arrested amid Joburg protests have a pending case in the Western Cape, court hears

  • The State is opposing bail for two out of four students arrested during protests over funding this week.
  • The students appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court.
  • Their case continues on Friday for a bail hearing.

Two out of four students who were arrested during a protest in Braamfontein this week have a pending case in Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Tuesday.

For this reason, the State opposed their release on bail.

Moses Leshodi and Orediretse Mosebe appeared in court on Tuesday alongside Siyasanga Tshembele and Sivuyile Mhatu, who are out on bail. They face charges of public violence.

They were arrested on Monday afternoon when police dispersed protesters, mainly from Wits and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Addressing the court on Tuesday, prosecutor Mbali Mbatha said the State was opposed to Leshodi and Mosebe's release on bail because they had a pending case. Further details of the pending case were not provided in court.

The existence of the pending case, meant that the Johannesburg case they were facing became a Schedule 5 offence, instead of a Schedule 1 offence.

As a result, the State opposed their release on bail.

WATCH | Police deny firing live shots at protesters as student demonstrations flare up again

The students' defence team, however, argued that their release on bail was in the interests of justice, despite the pending case, adding they have not been convicted in the Western Cape case.

They are expected to appear in court for the Western Cape case later this month. 

Speaking outside court after the matter was postponed to Friday for a bail hearing, National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said more information on the Western Cape case would be revealed during the bail hearing.

Mjonondwane added: 

At this stage, as the State, we are busy with investigations in preparation to respond to their bail application. Remember, if a person commits a Schedule 1 offence and then they repeat and commit another Schedule 1 [offence], then that person will then be appearing before court for a Schedule 5 offence. So two schedule 1 offences result into a Schedule 5 offence.

The streets of Johannesburg were quiet on Tuesday morning after Wits and University of Johannesburg took to the streets in an attempt to shut down higher education institutions as part of their protest over funding on Monday. Police and JMPD vehicles could be seen on standby at UJ in Auckland.

Chaos erupted after police used water cannons and teargas on the protesters as they approached the M1 from UJ Bunting Campus on Monday. A student was wounded when she was shot. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo denied claims that cops fired shots at protesters.

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