Four student leaders refused bail and one freed

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

Four of the five student leaders from Mangosuthu University of Technology who were arrested after a stand-off with police on Friday were denied bail when they appeared in court yesterday.

President of the students representative council Mandla Shange, Mfanafuthi Ngwabe, Sandile Sikhakhane, Mfanafuthi Ngcobo and Thembelani Shongwe were charged with illegal gathering and perpetrating violence.

Hundreds of students gathered at the Durban regional court to support their leaders. Shongwe was granted bail of R500 while the other four will be kept in jail until March 12.

The protest over a lack of student accommodation turned ugly last Thursday when about 70 students held two senior executive managers hostage. On Friday students demanded to meet vice chancellor Roy du Preez.

The university won a court interdict to prevent further disruptions, but the protests continued. Police were called in to enforce the interdict.

Police Superintendent Muzi Mngomezulu said officers had to use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the students.

"Some police vehicles were stoned. Five SRC members were arrested," he said.

MUT spokesperson Nomonde Mbadi said the SRC and 70 other students had demanded to meet the vice chancellor on Friday, but their demand was turned down.

"We did not want a repeat of what happened on Thursday," she said. "We now have a court interdict . restraining the SRC from violent protest and damaging property."

Mbadi said a list for accommodation the SRC had presented to the university did not match a previous list it had submitted.

Shortly after the four were refused bail, SRC spokesperson Sifiso Mdakane said they planned to ask Education Minister Naledi Pandor to intervene.