Admitting guilt is not an option for Fees Must fall activist Mcebo Dlamini
Fees Must Fall activist Mcebo Dlamini says the options Justice Minister Micheal Masutha have given to students charged in connection with the fees protests, are not in his best interests.
Last month, Masutha noted that, due to the separation of powers, he did not have the authority to pardon students.
However, he said he could assist in two ways: through applications for presidential pardons, or mediation and arbitration.
But Dlamini, who is accused of public violence, the assault of a police officer and the violation of a court order, was not happy. He briefly appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday.
"We are not going to plead guilty. There is no way we will take ourselves into the mouth of the hyena. The State must find us guilty. There is no way we can sacrifice our careers so cheaply," Dlamini told News 24 outside court.
Dlamini said he had nothing to do with the violence.
"We admit being part of and leading the movement, but we do not admit to any damage to property as an individual," he said.
On August 27, after a meeting with Fees Must Fall activists at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, a statement was released which stated: "The minister will, where appropriate, guide the students in making applications to the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) for the review of prosecutorial decisions in cases of students who are already charged and whose matters are currently on trial."
However, for a student to be considered for presidential pardon or amnesty, there has to be a conviction or an acknowledgement of wrongdoing. This is the concern for Dlamini, who is a law student at Wits University.
An admission of guilt is likely to have an impact on his future.
"What we are going to do is write to the NPA to ask them to relook the charges and ask that the matter be taken out of court and discussed between the minister, the university and students," he said.
His case has been postponed to September 17 when a trial date is expected to be set, based on Dlamini's examination timetable and the NPA's response to his representations.