JOHANNESBURG: The Gauteng Department of Education has revealed that the province was paying the fees for former University of the Witwatersrand Student Representative Council (SRC) leader Mcebo Dlamini, who has been arrested in connection with violent protests for free 
education.

The 32-year-old, who was arrested at his Wits residence in the early hours on Sunday, faces charges of public violence, theft, malicious damage to property and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm

Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi said yesterday: “We (the Gauteng government) sponsor Mcebo Dlamini to study LLM and now he is in prison. I’m scared and fearing the worst."

This came as Dlamini appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court for a bail application.

Lesufi made the revelations of the fees payment for Dlamini during a media briefing at a Secondary School Intervention Programme (SSIP) in Johannesburg, where he pleaded with #FeesMustFall negotiators to resolve the matter speedily to allow matriculants the opportunity to study at public universities next year.

“We need to be sure that they will be in a position to apply and be admitted to high education institutions," Lesufi said.

“The reality is dawning on us of having a generation that might not be able to receive higher education. But we are confident that parties involved will try to resolve the matter.”

Meanwhile, Rhodes University students protesting for free education went on a rampage, disrupted an exam, smashed windows and upended cars, before police used stun grenades and rubber bullets to quell the disturbances.

The institution’s spokesperson, Catherine Deiner, said protesters attempted to enter the Barratt lecture complex with the apparent intention of disrupting a test taking place.

Glass doors to the complex were broken in the process.

“Protesters then moved to the library, where more glass was broken, before progressing to upper campus, where again stones and rocks were thrown at windows and entrances,” said Deiner.

“Extensive damage also occurred in the Biko Building, site of the offices of the division of Student Affairs and the SRC. Three university service vehicles were overturned at the rear of the building,” she said.

Members of the Public Order Policing Unit used stun grenades, rubber bullets and tear gas to quell the disturbances. Several protesting students have been arrested.

“Service staff were busy in all affected lecture venues early this morning, Tuesday, 18 October, to clean and remove broken glass. All venues are now ready to be used,” said Deiner.

“We are extremely grateful to staff who continue to support us in keeping the academic programme running. The contribution of wardens and other staff who worked throughout the disruptions to calm their students is noted in particular.”