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Two UKZN students arrested for public violence released on bail

Tholinhlanhla Ngcobo and Philasande Mvelase attend court proceedings on Tuesday.
Tholinhlanhla Ngcobo and Philasande Mvelase attend court proceedings on Tuesday.

The two University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) students who were arrested for public violence at the Edgewood campus last month were released on R2,000 bail by the Pinetown magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

SRC chairperson Tholinhlanhla Ngcobo, 23, and Philasande Mvelase, 23, were nabbed on campus at the height of the protests.

The upheaval was related to a shortage of student residences, financial exclusion and delays in releasing the special exam results for final year students.

Police kept a close watch on court proceedings as a small group of students showed support for their peers.

The pair’s Legal Aid attorney, Terisa Ramkisson, who read out their affidavits, told the court her clients intended to plead not guilty to the charges.  

Both accused were pursuing their honours degrees in social justice education after completing their bachelor of education qualifications last year.

They said in their affidavits they were not flight risks because they didn’t have passports. They vowed that upon their release they would not endanger the lives of others, including witnesses. 

They both don’t have previous convictions or pending cases. It emerged during the hearing that Mvelase is a parent and supports his child with money he makes doing odd jobs on weekends.

The state relied on an affidavit submitted by investigating officer Noluthando Mtshali in not opposing bail.  

Mtshali said in his affidavit the university was willing to allow the students back provided they did not interfere with or disrupt teaching and learning.

Bail was not opposed, and magistrate Wendalynn Robinson considered the pair suitable candidates for bail. She said they were not allowed on campus outside lecture times. The matter has been postponed to April 21. 


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