Ex-stu­dent leader vows to fight on for free ed­u­ca­tion

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - KHANYISILE NG­COBO

THE #FeesMustFall move­ment leader and for­mer Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand SRC pres­i­dent Mcebo Dlamini said the po­lit­i­cal pres­sure sur­round­ing his case would not de­ter him in his fight for free ed­u­ca­tion.

Dlamini was speak­ing af­ter yet an­other post­pone­ment of his case in the Jo­han­nes­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day. He is fac­ing mul­ti­ple charges that in­clude pub­lic vi­o­lence, as­sault, theft and dam­age to prop­erty.

The mat­ter was post­poned to Au­gust 15 to al­low him time to in­struct an­other lawyer about his sit­u­a­tion af­ter his cur­rent lawyer with­drew from the case.

Dur­ing yes­ter­day’s court pro­ceed­ings, the State in­di­cated that its in­ves­ti­ga­tion was com­plete and it was ready to pro­ceed with the mat­ter.

Fol­low­ing his ap­pear­ance, a calm Dlamini spoke on the lat­est de­lay, seem­ingly at­tribut­ing this to po­lit­i­cal pres­sure mounted against his lawyers.

“I don’t know what hap­pened to­day, but we’ve al­ways said these cases seem to be po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

“I’m still try­ing to get time to en­gage with my lawyers but they’ve raised se­ri­ous con­cerns with re­gards to the po­lit­i­cal pres­sure (around the case). There’s too much pres­sure and they can’t han­dle it.”

Dlamini added that while his lawyer’s with­drawal took him by sur­prise, the pres­sure also made him un­com­fort­able be­cause lawyers were of­ten un­ac­cus­tomed to deal­ing with the pres­sure politi­cians are sub­jected to.

He added that this pres­sure was sim­i­lar to that ex­pe­ri­enced by stu­dent lead­ers and their lawyers dur­ing the apartheid-era, which was of­ten an at­tempt to leave them to rep­re­sent them­selves.

De­spite this, Dlamini said this would not de­ter him from his cause and vowed to con­tinue with his fight.

Dlamini was ar­rested at his Wits res­i­dence in Oc­to­ber last year dur­ing the protests for free ed­u­ca­tion.

PIC­TURE: CHRIS COLLINGRIDGE

NEW LAWYER: For­mer SRC pres­i­dent Mcebo Dlamini.

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