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State drops charges against UWC #FeesMustFall leader

Cape Town – They are falling! Yet another #FeesMustFall leader had his charges dropped by the state after he was recommended for diversion.

Siyasanga Ndwayi, a student leader from the University of the Western Cape, appeared at the Bellville Margistrate Court on Thursday. Ndwayi was charged with public violence and malicious damage to property during the 2016 #FeesMustFall protests at UWC.

Before he could stand in the dock, Ndwayi underwent a process of assessment where it was determined that he is eligible for diversion.

Diversion is a restorative justice process that involves offenders accepting responsibility for the crime committed, making amends for what they have done and initiating a healing process for themselves, the victims and the community.

These programmes are run by the provincial Department of Social Development and non-governmental organizations like NICRO.

When he finally appeared before the Margistrate, the State declared its intention to have the charges withdrawn as the accused had been recommended for diversion. The presiding Margistrate sought clarity on whether the state wanted to drop charges then or wait until the accused completes his community service, set at 50 hours over a period of six months, the state prosecutor responded that he would like the charges dropped today and that the accused undertakes to complete his community service as soon as possible. The order was then granted and Ndwayi left the court a free man.

Ndwayi was represented by attorney Lufuno Musetsho who has represented a number of student activists in the Western Cape, most of whom are currently serving their community service hours after their charges were dropped and recommended for diversion.

Yesterday the Bellville Margistrate’s Court withdrew charges against Sapho ‘Propaganda’ Mahilihili who had spent almost two weeks in Goodwood Prison following a miscommunication between him and his Legal Aid lawyers on the diversion of his 2015 #FeesMustFall charges.

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