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Thu Dec 08 20:10:02 SAST 2016

DUT Fees Must Fall leader held for 63 days makes another bid for bail

Suthentira Govender | 2016-11-29 13:01:26.0
Bonginkosi Khanyile was arrested on September 27 following clashes with police during Fees Must Fall protests.
Image by: Rogan Ward

The defence team for incarcerated Durban University of Technology student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile made an impassioned plea on Tuesday for his freedom during his second bid to be released on bail.

Khanyile‚ who was arrested on September 27 following clashes with police during Fees Must Fall protests‚ is facing eight charges that include public violence‚ illegal gathering and inciting violence.

He has been in jail for 63 days.

Magistrate Jackie Jonck denied him bail in October after the court heard during the initial application that Khanyile had a strong influence over students and that lecturers would be reluctant to give statements to police because they were fearful.

At the new bail application on Tuesday morning‚ defence advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the court that violent demonstrations no longer persisted as the Fees Must Fall campaign had changed tactics from protest to diplomacy. His legal fees are being paid by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

A large contingent of supporters in EFF T-shirts‚ headscarves and berets packed the courtroom which was closely guarded by police officers with riot shields.

His mother‚ Phumzile Khathini‚ sat quietly listening to the proceedings.

In an affidavit submitted to the court‚ Khanyile said her son was eager to return to his Eshowe home to spend time with friends and loved ones.

Ngcukaitobi said the father of three had a responsibility to his three children aged 4‚ 3 and 2‚ who usually spent Christmas with him.

He said that it was pointless keeping Khanyile in prison until his trial in February 2017 because the police investigation had been concluded and he could not interfere with the probe.

“The likelihood that the accused not stand trial is minimum.”

Ngcukaitobi accused the state of trying to show Khanyile “who is boss”.

The state once again opposed bail.

Prosecutor Roshiela Benimadho said that after Khanyile’s arrest anarchy on campus had come to a complete standstill.

“Whatever the state set out to prove actually proved correct. The court must keep in mind that holidays are temporary… The Fees Must Fall issue is nowhere near resolution.”

She added that the state denying Khanyile bail must not be tantamount to punishment.

“The state does not want to hold Khanyile responsible for the entire Fees Must Fall campaign. We are not laying that at his door.”

A ruling on the bail application is expected later on Tuesday.

– TMG Digital/The Times

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