Cape Town – The National Prosecuting Authority has dropped charges against 23 UWC students who were arrested during the Fees Must Fall campaign in 2016.
The students were arrested on 18 October 2016 during the turbulent #FeesMustFall campaign. UWC academic and student ally, Shirley Brooks, explained that the students were arrested while preparing to sit for final examinations, “that evening, riot (‘public order’) police descended on the campus and continued raiding the residences well into the night. Rubber bullets were fired as well as tear gas, which drove students out of their rooms and into the arms of policemen who arrested as many as they could. There was little effort to determine who actually was protesting and/or doing anything illegal”.
Yesterday the NPA dropped the charges of public violence against the students who had been out on bail of R3000 each.
Commenting on the NPA decision, Mphikeleli Vilakati said, “I feel that the state has known from the onset that they had no case. The aim was to inflict fear to other students to demoralize them from protesting, Now that Jacob Zuma has announced Free Education, the state knew that they now have to stop beating about the bush and drop all charges against us”.
Attempts to obtain comment from the NPA were unsuccessful at the time of publishing.