'I feared I could also be stoned': The other side of #FeesMustFall

A protester expresses his dissatisfaction during the Fees Must Fall uprising at Wits University.
A protester expresses his dissatisfaction during the Fees Must Fall uprising at Wits University.
Image: Alon Skuy/The Times

“I was shaken by their actions as I feared I could also be stoned.”

That is how campus security guard Melabako Maqude‚ 54‚ described the scenes at about 1.30pm on October 31 2016‚ during #FeesMustFall protests at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in Port Elizabeth. Nine cars were stoned in the protest action.

“I could immediately recognise the one as being ‘Zane’‚ who I can identify who was wearing a red EFF T-shirt and tracksuit pants‚” Maqude said in a sworn statement to the police on November 5 2016.

His statement is among those contained in a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) request by the South African History Archive (SAHA)‚ released earlier this week.

NMU campus security monitored the students before they split up.

“I asked the CCTV operators to monitor the groups whilst I went to the main parking area… I noticed that there was a white [car] standing close to the corner of the parking area and its rear window was broken‚ I immediately realised that the group I was following could be involved and went closer‚” said Maqude.

Fellow campus security officer Mzwandile Nobadula‚ 52‚ described the same incident in his sworn statement‚ also contained in the SAHA request.

“I could hear the noise of stones on motor vehicles parking [sic] in front of [the] new admin building [and the] number of students were plus-minus eight. I could only identified [sic] the one [that] was leading [who] I know him as Zayne [sic].”

Nobadula added: “He was part of the group that was stoning the car in the parking bay… The other thing is after they finished stoning the cars‚ I saw Zayne. He was tampering with the back rear windscreen... ”

Second-year BA student Zane Mncam was found guilty and expelled from NMU for his involvement in the protest action.

The university said Mncam and two other students “formed a common purpose and conducted yourself in an unbecoming manner” by stoning nine cars in the parking lot in front of the main administration building on the NMU North Campus.

Mncam pleaded not guilty to charges of malicious damage to property and incitement to commit a crime.

NMU held a disciplinary inquiry on April 5 2017 on the NMU Summerstrand South Campus‚ where the student disciplinary review committee upheld the decision to expel Mncam on June 8 2017.

They said the video footage and affidavits from witnesses correctly identified the students.

Below are the amounts of damage caused to each of the nine cars:

R7‚072.55; R1‚992.15; R20‚641.39; R20‚867.72; R4‚900; R63‚000; R18‚810; R40‚000; and R137‚000.

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