Another student activist in court after 'disturbing' arrest
19 October 2016
Pretoria - Police in Pretoria pounced on Fees Must Fall demonstrator and Economic Freedom Fighters student command national member Naledi Chirwa in the early hours of Wednesday morning for being in contempt of a court order.
Chirwa is also one of four young women who staged a Remember Khwezi demonstration during an address by President Jacob Zuma's address at the Independent Electoral Commission's results centre.
"They arrested her in a disgusting and disturbing manner," her lawyer Meshack Thipe told News24 just minutes after her court appearance.
Thipe said an officer arrived to arrest the 23-year-old student at her home in Mamelodi around 04:00, taking her to Brooklyn police station without informing her of the charges she faced.
Chirwa appeared before the Pretoria Magistrate's Court, where she was granted bail of R1 000 and told to appear again on January 11 2017.
Thipe said his client had spent most of the morning feeling confused, only learning of the charge she faced during court proceedings. He said she faced a charge of being in contempt of a court order. This is in relation to an interdict obtained against demonstrations at the University of Pretoria campus.
Students have been protesting since September demanding the immediate implementation of free education.
"She was absolutely disturbed. I don't understand why they couldn't have waited for morning or at least last night? Why in the early hours?" asked Thipe.
600 students arrested
EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi slated the arrest, tweeting that Chirwa was taken from her bed, sleeping next to her infant child. He said this was done to terrify her so she would never question authority.
The EFF leader decried the arrests of 600 other students who have been protesting.
On Wednesday morning, University of the Witwatersrand's former SRC president Mcebo Dlamini was denied bail in the Johannesburg Magistrate Court. He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning.
EFF student command president Mpho Moroloane attended Chirwa's court proceedings. He told News24 he believed Chirwa's arrest was part of a political ploy.
"She was definitely singled out. They are dealing with young activists. In Naledi's case it's also because she is EFF," he said.
Meanwhile, a number of leaders from various sectors of society have made attempts at helping students, government and institutions of higher learning resolve the impasse. One such leader is Bishop Jo Seoka who has been mediating at Wits University.
Seoka, who noted that there were many opportunities for intervention, told News24 that there were complaints of targeted police harassment from students.
"They believe that there is a hit list that has been released to selectively arrest the leadership so as to stifle their struggle. So it is a bit difficult because there is a lot of anger," he said.
This article first appeared on News24, see here.