UPDATE: Tokelo Nhlapo has confirmed via Twitter that he received 130 hours of community service and not 80 as reported in this article.
The statementreleased by the vice-chancelllor Prof Habib last year indicated that while all of the Wits11 received 80 hours of community service, “one of these students has further been found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction issued by a University employee, and will be required to perform an additional 50 hours of community service for this offence.”
The identity of this student was not known to Wits Vuvuzela previously. We apologise for the error.
Some members of the “Wits 11” – the students disciplined last year after they disrupted a concert by an Israeli pianist – have agreed to accept their punishments, in spite of declarations to the contrary.
The Wits 11 were charged and found guilty of misconduct for interrupting a concert by pianist Yossi Reshef, as part of a pro-Palestinian protest, and were ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.
Tokelo Nhlapo and Pearl Pillay told Wits Vuvuzela the Wits 11 were united in opposition to their sentences. Pillay said the Wits 11 were not going to comply with the sentence because the ruling was “unfair”.
However, Wits spokesperson Kanina Foss said Wits 11 member Apelele Pindani had already made arrangements with the office of the vice chancellor to complete her prescribed community service.
If Pindani did not, she “will not be issued a certificate of good conduct”, which was necessary if the law student wished to practice in the legal profession, said Foss.
Contacted by Wits Vuvuzela, Pindani declined to comment on her own punishment, but confirmed the Wits 11 were divided over complying with their punishments. “Some people have complied and some people haven’t complied with the requirements of the sentencing.”
Foss said the university expected the Wits 11 to comply with their sentences before they finished their degrees. “The university would expect the students to complete the community service as soon as possible, but definitely before they complete their studies.”
But Pillay said she did not believe refusing to complete her community service would hinder her graduation. She said the judgement against them did not state that non-compliance would mean they could not complete their degrees.
Nhlapo told Wits Vuvuzela the 11 were pursuing every option available to continue to fight the sentence. He said they were in contact with a Constitutional Court judge, who was willing to review their case.
“We are not prepared to do business with Zionists who kill Palestinian women and children.” Nhlapo said the university had used a policy dating from 1988 to charge the Wits 11. He believed the ruling was illegal and unconstitutional in the new South Africa.
Nhlapo, Pillay and Pindani were SRC members when they protested the pianist’s appearance in 2013. Other SRC members Sibulele Mgudlwa, Joy Phiri, Tasneem Essop, Justice Nkomo, Klaas Mokgomole and Norman Mashegoane as well as Wits students, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Feziwe Ndwayana, were also found guilty of misconduct for their part in the protest and all were ordered to perform 80 hours of community service.