Case post­poned to next year

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - FA­TIMA SCHROEDER

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.

fa­tima.schroeder@inl.co.za

Hugo de Waal

Itume­leng Molefe

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