130 students arrested in South Africa over protests


At least 130 students have been arrested in South Africa while 30 others have been suspended by the University of Johannesburg as the nationwide fees protests continue unabated.

The protests have been going on since last month and property worth millions of dollars has been destroyed in the process.

Wits University student activist and former Student Representative Committee President Mcebo Dlamini made a brief court appearance on Monday and will return on Tuesday.

Charges of assault

He faces charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, public violence, theft and malicious damage to property.

The 32-year-old was arrested over the weekend at a Wits residence. His arrest came after a group of students set alight an Outside Broadcast van belonging to national broadcaster. The van is said to be worth $140,000.

Police said Mr Dlamini’s arrest was part of an ongoing investigation into violence, criminality and intimidation.

Dozens of fellow students gathered at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court to show their support to Mr Dlamini.

Their fight

They students say their fight for free education continues.

Student activist Shaeera Kalla said they would ensure exams were not written until their grievances were resolved.

Indications were that students may have to repeat the current semester after protests disrupted academic activities countrywide.

Behind bars

“We are saying that we will not write exams and go on normally in this abnormal conditions. So the real thing here is for the university and government to realise that this issue is not going anywhere and students who are supporting it are not just going to die down because of the intimidation,” she said.

University of Cape Town student leader Masixole Mlandu has also been behind bars since last week.

On Monday, students started two fires on public roads near the Johannesburg CBD.