Durban University of Technology (DUT) student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile has petitioned the High Court in Durban to grant him freedom after his failure to secure bail bids twice this year.
Since his arrest on September 27, Khanyile has been in jail for 77 days and has been denied bail – once in October and again in November.
Khanyile was nabbed after clashes with police during the Fees Must Fall protests. He was subsequently slapped with eight charges including public violence‚ illegal gathering and inciting violence and has been denied trial since then.
He was reportedly caught in a video footage assaulting police, arming himself with a slingshot and encouraging students to “moer the police”.
When he first applied for bail in October, the court refused, claiming that he had a strong influence over students and could intimidate lecturers who might be willing to release information to police.
In addition, the court insisted that Khanyile was facing serious charges and that he had pending similar matters committed at DUT previously and in Umlazi.
The student activist was previously charged for threatening the KwaZulu-Natal legislature Speaker Lydia Johnson. He allegedly threatened to enact no fees laws if the speaker won’t do anything about it.
Khanyile’s case is still being heard. The court witnessed an overflow of supporters today – mostly from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) camp.
It is understood that the Malema-led party has been taking care of the student activist’s legal cost.
BuzzSouthAfrica also gathered that State advocate Kavil Singh said he had asked the court manager and registrar on Tuesday‚ via email‚ for additional security in anticipation of many people attending.
A maximum of 30 people were permitted to sit in the court, according to a security manager that spoke to reporters.
Last month, the EFF re-echoed calls for the student activist to be released. The red block noted that the whole FeesMustFall movement was met with brutal state repression and the detainment of Bongingkosi was evidence to that effect.
The party in a statement upheld that detainment without trial is a dictatorial, anti-democratic and inhumane way in which autocratic regimes deal with political activists opposing the government of the day.