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Five UCT student activists granted bail

Masixole Mlandu, who has been in custody since last week, and his co-accused were granted bail of R500 each.

FILE: Supporters of UCT student activist Masixole Mlandu gather outside Wynberg Magistrates Court. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Five University of Cape Town (UCT) student activists have been granted bail.

The students appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court today on various charges ranging from assault to malicious damage of property.

Student leader Masixole Mlandu has been in custody since last week for allegedly interfering with campus security while the other four students were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly assaulting security guards.

Supporters of the five students crammed into the courtroom, while many others remained outside.

The State said it had received submissions from witnesses and UCT vice-chancellor Max Price saying they did not oppose bail for Mlandu, who appeared first and separately to the other students.

The prosecution changed its position and no longer opposed bail.

Magistrate Goolam Baua said he had taken note of the fact that Mlandu is a student leader and a key player in negotiations between university management and protesters.

Baua granted Mlandu bail of R500, which received loud cheers from supporters in court.

The magistrate also granted the other co-accused bail of R500 each.

Mlandu believes his arrest was politically motivated.

The defence told the court the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has lifted the interdict against Mlandu, meaning he is now allowed back on campus.

Mlandu's lawyer Lufuno Musetsho also told the court they believe he was arrested because of his role as a prominent student leader in the "Fees Must Fall" movement.

"We are happy with everything, but we believe that his arrest was politically motivated."

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