Student leader Mcebo Dlamini brings in big guns

Senior counsel Dali Mpofu and state prosecutor Steven Rubin smile for the camera in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court  Picture: Alon Skuy
Senior counsel Dali Mpofu and state prosecutor Steven Rubin smile for the camera in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court
Picture: Alon Skuy

Former Wits student leader Mcebo Dlamini will know his fate today after he brought in a high-profile legal team to appeal against a decision to deny him bail.

The 32-year-old postgraduate law student roped in the help of senior counsel Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi yesterday to appeal against the Johannesburg Magistrate Court’s decision not to grant him bail and to argue that it would be in the interests of justice to see him released.

Dlamini was charged with public violence, theft, malicious damage to property, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and possession of a dangerous weapon last month.

Mpofu argued that the case against Dlamini was politically motivated, saying the state was trying to keep his client off the campus through the introduction of “spurious charges” and “detention without trial”.

“The days of solving political problems through detention without trial are over.

“These charges don’t hold water. If you look at the charges, it’s actually pathetic,” Mpofu told the court.

He said the prosecution was unable to prove allegations that Dlamini was violent on campus, arguing that pictures used as evidence were of low quality, picturing a person from behind, while the prosecution and a police officer who submitted an affidavit promising to supply the video hadn’t done so. Mpofu said the past three weeks had been “hellish” for Dlamini.

Steven Rubin, for the prosecution, argued that Dlamini, as a student leader and a law student, should have known about the interdict the university obtained in April preventing illegal gatherings and that he had contravened the order.

“We’re not dealing with a lay person here. He is a postgraduate law student,” Rubin said.

Violence linked to the #FeesMustFall protests has continued to trouble the University of Western Cape.

The university’s spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said a case of arson had been opened after the university’s education building and the residential services office were set alight.

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