University of KwaZulu-Natal students gathered outside the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court to support 12 students who were arrested for public violence during a protest in February. Picture Supplied.
University of KwaZulu-Natal students gathered outside the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court to support 12 students who were arrested for public violence during a protest in February. Picture Supplied.

Why NPA dropped charges against 12 protesting UKZN students

By Karen Singh Time of article published Apr 21, 2021

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DURBAN - The KZN Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office said the case against 12 protesting University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) students was withdrawn last week because there was no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution.

The 12 students, most of whom were members of the university’s SRC, were arrested on February 24, 2021, and first appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court the next day.

The provincial director of public prosecutions advocate Elaine Zungu said after careful consideration of all the evidence, as well as the representations made by counsel for the accused, the senior public prosecutor decided to withdraw the charge of public violence against the students.

“The reason for the withdrawal is that there were no reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution,” she said.

Zungu further clarified the reason why the case was only withdrawn almost two weeks after the decision was made by the senior public prosecutor.

She said the senior prosecutor made his decision on April 1, 2021, however, the matter was sent down for April 13, 2021, for the next court appearance.

“This is the reason why the matter was only withdrawn on April 13, 2021. It was the date that the accused were warned/expected to be in court, following their previous court appearance.”

UKZN SRC secretary-general Philani Mncwabe told the Mercury last week that the students were unlawfully arrested for embarking on a peaceful hunger strike, outside the front gate of the university’s Westville campus.

He also questioned the motives for the arrests.

UKZN had said the students were arrested by SAPS, when they blocked the public’s access to the university.

THE MERCURY

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