JOHANNESBURG, October 19 – FeesMustFall activist Mcebo Dlamini’s trial for public violence and assaulting a police officer during student protests was postponed on Friday in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Magistrate Carlo Labuschagne said the court officer initially assigned to try Mcebo’s case was due to leave the service because his term has come to an end.
As a result, Labuschagne postponed the matter to 9 April 2019 for pre-trial.
Dlamini was arrested after he was accused of public violence and assaulting a police officer during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests. In November the same year, Mcebo was granted bail of R2,000 in the South Gauteng High Court – sitting in the Palm Ridge.
Mcebo recently undertook a highly publicised “long walk” from Auckland Park in Johannesburg the Union Buildings, Pretoria, in a call for amnesty for fees must fall activists who have been prosecuted.
The government has advised students who were arrested during the fees must fall protests to go through the justice system before they ask the president for a pardon.
Justice Minister Michael Masutha is on record as saying: “It is worth noting that presidential pardons are granted in respect of convicted and sentenced persons only on the basis of the information they provide and in circumstances where the applicant has shown good cause. Under no circumstances can presidential pardons be predetermined‚”
However, outside the court on Friday, Mcebo declared to reporters that the state “has no case” against him.
“Every time when we come to court prepared to go on trial they always find ways of delaying tactics … today they use that the magistrate’s term of office has elapsed so he is not in the position to commence the trial at all … he knew that his term is ending but he set up the date for today,” said Dlamini.
– African News Agency (ANA)