UPDATE: We initially reported Tokelo Nhlapo’s surname as ‘Nhlapho’. We have changed the spelling on this page and apologise for any inconvenience caused.
THE ELEVEN students found guilty of misconduct and inciting other’s to disrupt the piano recital of Israeli pianist Yossi Reshef are defying their community sentence.
Each of the students were sentenced to 80 hours of community service after a university disciplinary hearing found them guilty of misconduct during the pianists visit to Wits on March 12 last year.
The disruption ended the recital prematurely.
They claim not to be guilty, insist they were unfairly treated and threaten to go to the Constitutional Court if needs be.
The group of 11 students planned to review the case according to former SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo when asked why they were defying the punishment.
Each of the students was sentenced to 80 hours of community service.
Former SRC deputy president Tokelo Nhlapo was sentenced an added 50 hours of community service for “not obeying lawful instructions by a university employee” said Vice Chancellor Adam Habib in a statement released after the verdict.
The bogus sentencing
Nkomo said the group were reviewing the case because “the sentencing is very bogus”.
He said they wanted a review of the case, hoping for an overturning of the guilty verdict.
Further, they could take the case to Constitutional Court, if these processes were not successful. Nkomo was angered that “they [management] took all the verdicts and made it into one”. He argued that the verdict did not take into consideration that the group “were also wronged” during the trial”.
The former treasurer insists that the group is not guilty because their cause was just.
Nkomo said that he did not understand how the students had never been charged for protesting in the past. He went on to list protests that he believed were “worse”.
In 2012 the SRC embarked on a protest against Royal Mnandi for mistreating 17 chefs.
“In that protest we even interrupted classes, why weren’t we charged for that? It’s unfair and inconsistent”, said Nkomo. Nkomo says the right to protest at Wits is being undermined.
He said it was clear that the university was trying to please bigger, powerful people at their expense.
The statement released by Habib upon the verdict of the 11 students said the group of students have been excluded for a year, suspended over two years. If the students are found to transgress any university rules over the next two years, they will be excluded.
Furthermore none of the students are allowed to hold any office of student governance for the next year. The case of the students has been put forward for review by their lawyers and they await a verdict on their case.