Case postponed to next year
RHODES Must Fall ( RMF) movement activists are hoping a challenge to the constitutionality of the Regulation of Gatherings Act, scheduled to be heard in the Western Cape High Court next year, could save them from ongoing prosecution.
This emerged in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court yesterday where eight UCT students appeared in connection with protests over student accommodation at the campus earlier this year.
Among the students arrested in connection with the February fracas, during which they clashed with police, was Itumeleng Molefe, son of Eskom chief executive Brian Molefe.
They have been charged with malicious damage to property and public violence.
There are two separate cases. One involves a single accused, public policy and administration student Athabile Nonxuba, who is accused of damaging a vehicle trying to pass through a road students blocked off during the February protests at UCT.
In the second case, Molefe was in the dock along with six co-accused who allegedly damaged university property, including art and vehicles.
In court yesterday, the State withdrew the charges against one of the students, Hugo de Waal.
However, the court was informed that the prosecution against his co-accused, Molefe, Dumisani Ncubeni, Jonas Maepa, Kirsten Whitfield, Sanchin Davids and Neo Mancapa would continue and the prosecution against Nonxuba would also continue separately.
Defence attorney Sandile Xubashe, who appeared in both cases, told the court the outcome of the pending constitutional challenge to the Regulation of Gatherings Act could affect the cases against his clients.
He asked the court to postpone the case to next year.
While the State was ready to proceed with the case, it agreed it made sense to wait for the outcome of the challenge to the act.
Both cases were postponed to March 3.
The pending challenge to the act relates to a September 2013 gathering of a group of 21 Social Justice Coalition (SJC) members at the Civic Centre in Cape Town.
Some chained themselves to railings outside, refusing to budge until Mayor Patricia de Lille addressed them about sanitation.
The appeal is scheduled to be heard in February.
Hugo de Waal