Insufficient Evidence To Prosecute Wits Protesters, NPA

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12 March 2021

Staff Reporter/ PretoriaLIVE

Pretoria- National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) confirmed on Thursday that it will not go ahead with the prosecution of six Wits University students who were arrested during protests in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The six students were arrested after the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) embarked on protests for the second day, calling on the university’s management not to “exclude the 8,000 students who have outstanding fees.”

It demanded that all academically deserving students be allowed to register.

During the protests police dispersed students using rubber bullets, which saw 35-year-old Mthokozisi Ntumba allegedly shot and killed, as they gathered in the streets.

The six students, who were released after being granted bail, appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning on charges of public violence and malicious damage to property.

Students protesting at Wits University. Pic: Supplied.

Gauteng NPA spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the six students at this stage. However, one docket of malicious damage to property will be investigated further.

“We can confirm as the NPA that the prosecution has declined to prosecute any of the students arrested at Wits on Wednesday. We received three separate dockets and in one of the dockets there were five suspects arrested for public violence. They were released.”

“The two separate dockets had individual suspects and they were both released on R1,000 bail Wednesday night, also at the Hillbrow police station,” she said.

“So depending on the outcome of those further investigations the NPA will decide on whether or not the prosecution should proceed,” she said.

Mjonondwane added that the, “NPA decided not to prosecute in all three dockets due to insufficient evidence because if you bring someone to court you need to be certain of the identity of the person and prove the unlawful act that was done by the person. We don’t have enough information, hence we declined to prosecute.”

PretoriaLIVE

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