Student leader Mcebo Dlamini has launched a bid to protect students who were criminally charged for their participation in the protests. He said he had penned a letter to Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib to intervene.
Dlamini headed back to the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday‚ where he is due to go on trial for a string of charges emanating from his participation in the Fees Must Fall campaign in 2016.
“I have sent a letter to Adam Habib requesting that he takes a solidarity stand and call for amnesty and pardon of Fees Must Fall activists across the country‚” Dlamini said in a Facebook post.
“[I have] also requested Wits academics/lecturers to march around Braam in solidarity with students. Habib‚ through Prof Tawana Kupe has requested time to go consult‚” Dlamini added.
On Friday, Mcebo took his cause to the streets‚ embarking on a long walk from the Wits University campus in Braamfontein to the Union Buildings in Pretoria.
Prior to his walk‚ Mcebo took to Facebook to say: “I have taken a conscious decision to write a formal letter to the President of the Republic Cyril Ramaphosa calling [on] him to exercise his prerogative powers and grant amnesty and pardon all the Fees Must Fall activists. Before the end of the day tomorrow the letter will be delivered. Salute.”
Dlamini arrived at the Union Buildings on Friday evening and delivered his letter to presidency officials. He said he had been told that Ramaphosa would respond to him by Wednesday.
Dlamini’s efforts come after another popular Fees Must Fall activist‚ Bonginkosi Khanyile of the Durban University of Technology‚ was found guilty of public violence‚ failing to comply with police instructions, and possession of a dangerous weapon.
The charges emanated from incidents that occurred at the height of the university fee-hike revolt back in 2016.
Khanyile‚ through his advocate Danie Combrink‚ had admitted that during the violent protest action he had disturbed the public peace‚ used a slingshot to stone police and ignored their pleas to disperse. He will be sentenced in October.
Dlamini was charged with theft after a photograph taken during the protests showed him wearing a police helmet and carrying a police shield. He also faces other charges‚ including assault‚ public violence and malicious damage to property.
Commenting on Khanyile’s admission‚ Dlamini had earlier this week taken to social media‚ saying he would not follow suit.
“State must find me guilty: not going to incriminate myself on jack nothing (sic)‚” he said.