Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile has been released on bail following almost six months behind bars.
Khanyile’s high-profile legal team – which included advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi – brought an urgent bid for the activist to be released before the Constitutional Court today.
Two bail applications were previously denied.
The student leader from the Durban University of Technology was arrested in September on several charges related to the Fees Must Fall protests.
He was charged with incitement to commit public violence, illegal gathering, possession of explosives and dangerous weapons, obstructing traffic and causing a nuisance on public roads.
Among those who came out in support of Khanyile was his mother, Phumzile Khatini, who said that she was proud of her son for standing up for what he believed in.
She said that he had been courageous and strong over the past few months and that she encouraged him to keep going with the cause.
Also in court were fellow student activists Koketso Poho, Masixole Mlandu, Chumani Maxwele and Mcebo Dlamini.
Outside the court was a sea of red as Economic Freedom Fighters supporters came out in their numbers. EFF secretary-general Godrich Gardee and president Julius Malema were inside.
The EFF had driven the bid to have Khanyile released since his arrest.
A settlement was reached during a brief court adjournment between the state and Khanyile’s legal team – the state agreed that he be granted bail at R250.
The conditions of his release state that he may not obstruct the work of the police on campus and that he may not intimidate staff members of the tertiary institution.
A number of the 11 justices of the Constitutional Court expressed concerns that Khanyile was being detained without a trial date for a long period of time and questioned why he was the only student leader to remain behind bars despite protest action having come to an end.
Khanyile wrote his final exams behind bars and passed with four distinctions.