UCT activist to stay in jail, while thousands gather for march to Parliament

Masixole Mlandu (Netwerk24)
Masixole Mlandu (Netwerk24)

Cape Town - UCT student activist Masixole Mlandu will remain in custody until his bail application next week, his lawyer Lufuno Musetsho said on Wednesday.

"He will go back on November 2 for his bail application," said Musetsho.

Mlandu was arrested on Tuesday for alleged malicious damage to property during Fees Must Fall protests that started again from September 19.

He has been active in the Rhodes Must Fall and Shackville movements, which have questioned the need to pay university fees and why the university's artworks depict colonial heroes and its syllabus reflects a Eurocentric academic programme.  

Meanwhile, thousands of students and supporters of the Fees Must Fall movement gathered for one of four protests at Parliament during Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's medium-term budget policy statement, to be delivered at 14:00.

The amphitheatre at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, near the Cape Town CBD, was filled with protesters clapping and singing. 

They did laps of the campus in the blazing heat, carrying a cardboard coffin and a picture of Nzimande, with a slogan demanding that fees fall now. 

One woman did an impromptu strip protest to reveal the word "Revolt" written in marker on her chest.

Another carried a poster that read: "Makunyiwe Macala" (the shit will come from both sides).

Last year, a similar march took Parliament by surprise and ended in police firing stun grenades and arresting almost 30 people.

At least 30 peace monitors from the SA Christian Leadership Initiative fanned out as neutral observers of both police and students, with mediators on standby if necessary. 

"Protesters say they feel safer when we are there," said monitor Annie Kirke, as police sirens wailed around the city and razor wire arrived at Parliament.

A protesting UCT lecturer said she was astounded by the government's lack of leadership in the fees crisis. 

"It seems that they have forgotten what it takes to provide an education."

Political analyst and UCT Claude Leon Foundation chair Pierre de Vos was among the academics protesting earlier on Wednesday.

"The current crisis cannot be resolved by university management alone," he said. 

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