Cape Town – A bench warrant has been issued for one Cape Peninsula University of Technology student activist who failed to make it to court this morning while 11 of his co-accused had their charges diverted.
The absent student was part of a group of 12 student activists accused of public violence during the 2016 #FeesMustFall protests. Their lawyer, Siya Tsotso, also could not make it to court and they were represented by an attorney instructed by Tsotso. The attorney told the court that he was not able to locate the accused and the Magistrate decided to issue a bench warrant.
A bench warrant is an arrest warrant issued by a judge or court when an accused fails to appear at a scheduled court hearing. The accused has to present himself to court before 19 November.
The eleven other accused were granted diversion after their lawyer made representations for diversion to the National Director of Public Prosecutions who then instructed the provincial institution not to proceed with the case. They will have to serve hours in community service and if they adhere fully, they will walk away without criminal records.
The student activists will now report back to court on 19 November where their charges will likely be dropped.
This marks the end of what has been a victorious week for Cape Town student activists facing #FeesMustFall related charges as two other student activists had their charges withdrawn by the same court.