It is only when certain standards are met that bail is refused, according to Advocate Dali Mpofu.
He said this during an urgent court appeal that sought to get Wits University student activist Mcebo Dlamini released on bail.
Dlamini was arrested in his student residences at Wits last month in the wake of a student protests over free education. He said there was not even a weave of evidence supported by facts that the accused would endanger the safety of the public if released, he said.
Mpofu said spurious charges were put against the accused. “These charges won’t hold any water or whatsoever because the public violence charge is pathetic, as they say the accused unlawfully disrupted academic programmes of the university, but where does it talk about violence?
“There is the issue of propensity where it is said he ignores court orders, which is laughable because the court order of April 25, the appellant says he was not aware of this court order,” he said. Mpofu said the charges were nothing but politically motivated.
Regarding video footage showing the accused being in possession of dangerous weapons, Mpofu said only two still photographs were produced when the case was still being heard at the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court last month.
“All the state brought was a photograph of a person from the back, which means they have not even watched the video.
“Again, the court says as far as this photograph is concerned, the person in photograph is wearing a helmet … is this still the same person? My learned friend responded, indeed, my lord,” said Mpofu.
He said it did not make sense for the accused to be kept in detention before the trial, which could take even two years before it happens in the absence of proof to substantiate the allegations against the accused.
Mpofu briefly read out a section from the accused’s affidavit: “These charges, although seemingly serious at face value, I am sure these charges are political to remove me and others from the struggle for free and decolonised tertiary education.”