Student protesters vow to continue their struggle for free education

The group appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court where charges against them were dropped.

#FeesMustFall protesters after the state announced it was withdrawing charges against them in connection with student protests outside Parliament. 30 March 2016. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A group of student protesters who have been let off the hook after being arrested last year have vowed to continue their struggle for free tertiary education.

Yesterday, the group appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates Court where charges against them were dropped.

The demonstrators were arrested in October after clashing with police outside Parliament.

Kgotsi Chikane, son of ANC veteran Frank Chikane, was one of the protesters in court.

He says they're relieved the case has been dropped, but vows the fight for free tertiary education continues.

"A lot of people say 'it's unmanageable, you can't do it, it's not, possible'. But it is possible. We just need to figure out a way of doing it that makes sense. Hopefully we don't get arrested along the way."

Chikane said while he's relieved the case is over, the protesters' struggle continues.

"We're relieved, but there is still a lot more work to be done. A lot of people think because things have quietened down, that nothing is happening, but fair education is still not here."

Cape Town Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba and Frank Chikane were present at court.

'PROSECUTION NOT IN THE PUBLIC'S INTEREST'

The Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (WCDPP) says prosecuting the Fees Must Fall demonstrators would not have been in the interest of the public.

In a statement, WCDPP Advocate Rodney de Kock said it was found the protest held outside the parliamentary precinct last year was peaceful.

De Kock added the demonstrators did not cause damage to property and they were protesting against the high cost of higher education.

The demonstrators appeared visibly relieved in the Cape Town Magistrates Court today after learning the charges against them have been dropped.

RELIEF AS CHARGES ARE DROPPED

At the same time, Frank Chikane said he's relieved the charges against his son and other protesters were dropped.

Chikane has supported his son's involvement in the movement since it started.

"I'm hoping that we can make a difference between legitimate protests in a democracy and what the law would consider as illegitimate. This particular group was involved in a classical and normal protests."