Weekend Post (South Africa)

Rhodes fees protesters back in court

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SEVERAL Rhodes University students arrested during #FeesMustFa­ll protests last year are back in the Grahamstow­n Magistrate’s Court.

They appeared yesterday on charges ranging from malicious damage to property to public violence.

The courtroom was packed with student supporters when they appeared before magistrate Ntsoki Moni.

The matter was postponed to April 4 for further investigat­ion. All other matters were halted until the dozens of students had poured out of the courtroom.

Ironically, the next case on the court’s agenda was that of another well-known Rhodes University student activist, poet, writer and playwright Thembani Onceya, who was last year charged with the vicious torture and murder of a local Grahamstow­n man.

Onceya cut a lonely figure with his fellow accused, his brothers Akhona and Simakele Onceya and his friends Sizwe Gqotholo and Mzwanele Maki. They received no support from the other students.

The five stand accused of the brutal torture and murder of Thembalani Qwakanisa.

The state alleges Qwakanisa was suspected of having stolen Onceya’s laptop in October last year. It is alleged Qwakanisa was brought to Onceya and was assaulted and tortured in the course of being questioned about the whereabout­s of the laptop.

All five men have been denied bail.

The matter was postponed to March 17, when Gqotholo was expected to be referred for observatio­n to Fort England psychiatri­c hospital, prosecutor Navadia Adriaan confirmed yesterday.

Adriaan said it was hoped that the trial could be set down to run after Gqotholo had been assessed. – Adrienne Carlisle

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