‘PARDON ME’: Former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini
#FeesMustFall activist and former Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini narrowly escaped being locked up on Monday after arriving late at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

A trial date was expected to be set in court but was met with delays because he arrived late due to his difficulty walking. This was after 56.6km walk he embarked on from Wits University to the Union Buildings to deliver a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Dlamini is accused of malicious damage to property, theft, possession of a dangerous weapon and public violence, which led to his arrest in 2016. This stems to the violence that broke out during the #FeesMustFall violence at Wits University.

The activist was supposed to appear in the dock at 9am but was nowhere to be found when the magistrate, Albertus Roux, called his name from the court roll.

Roux immediately ordered a warrant for Dlamini’s arrest for violating his bail conditions, only to watch him limp into the courtroom 15 minutes late.

“Why were you late?” asked the magistrate. Dlamini told the court: “My feet were sore and I could not walk.”

The activist added that he had never been late before and believed there was a breakdown in communication between him and his legal team.

Roux reversed the warrant and postponed the case to September 3 for a hearing on the violation of his bail conditions. Roux grilled him for more than 10 minutes for not being in court on time.

The 30-year-old activist is determined to fight for arrested students to be granted amnesty and to ask Ramaphosa to release student activists arrested during #FeesMustFall protests that hit the country in 2015.

Dlamini said he believed that a new trial date would be set based on Ramaphosa’s response to his appeal to grant amnesty to and to pardon all the #FeesMustFall activists.

“The magistrate informed my lawyers and the prosecution to write to the president and enquire how long it will take him to make up his mind on the appeal made. If it’s one month then a trial date will be set after that one month,” Dlamini said.

Prosecutor Steven Rubin requested the court to postpone the matter for an inquiry on his lateness and to allow Dlamini to provide a sick note for the previous non-appearances.

Gauteng National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that the NPA was now prepared.

“We have been ready for a trial. Previously, the defence team had requested postponements, but from our side we are ready for a trial,” Mjonondwane said.