UCT student activist to spend week in Pollsmoor

UCT protests. (Tina Hsu)
UCT protests. (Tina Hsu)

Cape Town - UCT student leader Masixole Mlandu will spend the week in Pollsmoor Prison, following his appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday on a litany of charges.

Mlandu was arrested on Wednesday for contravening a high court order, malicious damage to property, trespassing, and intimidation.

He was out on bail at the time for violating an interdict two weeks ago.

Lawyer Lufuno Musetsho explained that the State was opposing bail owing to two pending charges against him.

Mlandu was expected to apply for bail next Friday, Musetsho said. He presented a letter from Vice Chancellor Max Price, in which he said he was not opposed to Mlandu being released.

The State, however, argued against this.

Fire

UCT laid criminal charges after students allegedly broke into the campus protection services' office, intimidated the guards, and forced them out on Wednesday. According to the university, about 70 protesters were involved.

Mlandu was identified and "appeared to be the leader making demands on their behalf".

The institution warned that action would be taken against others, should they be identified.

Mlandu was released on R1 000 bail last Thursday after spending two nights behind bars. He was not allowed to be on campus or prevent people from doing their work, in terms of an interdict against him.

Meanwhile, UCT said a fire had destroyed a double cab bakkie that students and researchers in its Geological Sciences Department used.

Spokesperson Pat Lucas said the vehicle was set alight just after 03:00 on Friday morning. Campus security extinguished it before it could spread to other vehicles or buildings.

"A 500ml glass bottle that smelt of petrol and was filled with sand was found at the scene and has been handed to SAPS," she said in a statement.

UCT was assessing smoke damage to a ventilation system that serves the department’s laboratory and which houses highly sensitive equipment, worth millions of rand, Lucas said.

"The damage could be severe and it is possible the ventilation system will have to be completely replaced. UCT is assessing the ventilation system, as well as the lab equipment it serves."

A case of arson has been opened.

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