Mcebo Dlamini. Image credit: SABC
By BO Staff Writer
On Tuesday 11 March, a Wits Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) meeting at the Solomon Mahlangu House was disrupted by a group of female students who displayed placards bearing messages accusing former Wits SRC president and #FeesMustFall activist Mcebo Dlamini of being a rapist. “We will not mourn a rapist” and “Covid-19 has less victims in SA than Mcebo”, read two of such messages.
This follows Dlamini’s conviction by the Johannesburg Magistrates Court the day before on a charge of public violence pertaining to student protests for free education in 2016, and for unlawfully residing in South Africa (SA). He was sentenced to a term of two years imprisonment which was wholly suspended for five years, for the former conviction; and six months’ imprisonment, which was wholly suspended for five years, for for the latter conviction. Each of the two suspended sentences was subject to the condition that Dlamini does not commit the same or similar offence(s) within the period of the suspended sentence.
The PYA meeting was called to deal, in the main, with the sentences imposed on Dlamini by the court.
“The system is lynching Dlamini and others as an example, to say that tomorrow, if we should have protests, they are criminalised protests. If we allow this, we will be setting a bad example,” Mpendulo Mfeka, a final-year law student cautioned the meeting.
One of the female students, Nontsikelelo Nkosi, reportedly said to Wits Vuvuzela that accusations of rape against Dlamini were raised at a meeting in 2016 at the Junction Residence house. “Most girls came out in this meeting and spoke about him being a rapist and that they had personally experienced being violated by him,” she said.
After the group of women left the meeting, Dlamini’s sentencing was addressed. “Anyone who protested in a genuine cause must be allowed and pardoned by the end of this week,” Mfeka reportedly said about the issue.
He pointed out to Wits Vuvuzela that PYA was unclear about the allegations by the group of female students; they will not ignore one of their own students who was arrested; and they will also not ignore the issues raised by the group of female protesters.
Black First Land First (BLF) President, Andile Mngxitama, also expressed his reflections on this matter.
“We blacks need to work out protocols of holding each other accountable. Such protocols have to take into account the totality of the anti black system in its operation and must not lend support to the white power apparatus.
“Yes, we must hold each other accountable. And yes, our actions must not by default assist the white power structures to lynch blacks,” Mngxitama said on social media.
The BLF President previously pronounced on the issue of Dlamini’s sentencing by the court.
“The conviction and sentence received by Mcebo has effectively killed his aspirations of practising as an advocate…
“The fact that the Prosecution pilled up charges against Mcebo including violating a court order, assaulting a police officer, malicious injury to property, public violence, theft, and of course digging up stuff about his citizenship, shows that it was nothing but repression by the State.
“If they arrested Mcebo Dlamini for #FeesMustFall activities in furtherance of Free Education, how does citizenship factor in this? The State is used to settling politcal scores,” Mngxitama said on the day Dlamini was sentenced.