The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) says it has decided to go ahead with the prosecution of two Wits University students who were arrested during protests on the main campus yesterday.
Zainab Patel and Chirag Janna appeared at the Hillbrow Magistrates court early this morning but were sent home around midday after they were each handed a piece of paper indicating their case had been “refused”. The two were involved in a dramatic arrest under the gaze of the media outside the Wits Origins Centre and were taken to the Hillbrow Police Station, where they were charged with public violence.
But despite walking from court today, NPA spokesperson Phindi Louw says the two will be expected back in 14 days. According to Louw, the case docket has been sent back to the SAPS for further investigation and the NPA will proceed with the prosecution after a more evidence is gathered. Louw confirmed that the senior prosecutor had dispatched the police to deliver the court summons notice to each student.
Louw says the NPA is handling the prosecution as “public violence is a criminal offence and it is our mandate to prosecute such charges”.
Patel and Janna protested their innocence on camera during the arrest which has received widespread media coverage. The arrests came on the day police and protesters clashed at Wits University resulting in SAPS using rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse students marching in Braamfontein.