The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has confirmed 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 arrest after the Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) embarked on protests for the second day running, 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.
Videos of police manhandling and assaulting students have also been circulating on social media.T
he 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.
Speaking outside the court, 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 yesterday. 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 last night, also at the Hillbrow police station.
“In these three dockets the NPA has decided to proceed with prosecution, but to mention that in one of the dockets where a suspect was arrested for malicious damage to property….that docket has been referred for further investigations.
“So depending on the outcome of those further investigations the NPA will decide on whether or not the prosecution should proceed,” she said.
WATCH: Gauteng NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw Mjonondwa says they have decided not to prosecute any of the arrested students at this point due to insufficient evidence. However, one docket of malicious damage to property will be further investigated. #WitsProtest #Witsasinamali pic.twitter.com/GkPylvrsWt
— POWER987News (@POWER987News) March 11, 2021
Mjonondwane went on to say: “We as 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.”