Police opposing urgent interdict to stop excessive force

Police opposing urgent interdict to stop excessive force

A small group of students gathered outside the Western Cape High Court early on Thursday morning for the continuation of an urgent interdict that was stood down on Wednesday night.

Police student protest

However, it did not go ahead as lawyers for SA Police Service (SAPS) and legal representatives for the students were still in “negotiations”.

Attorney for the Legal Resources Centre, Charlene May, was acting for ten applicants, which included students injured in Wednesday’s protest action, as well as some parents. She said that the 10 applicants were representative of a larger body of students.

She told African News Agency that the urgent interdict which was heard in the Western Cape High Court late on Wednesday night was postponed to Thursday morning “to allow legal representatives of SAPS to join the proceedings which they couldn’t do at the time because they didn’t have instructions”.

“We were in the process of leading evidence of one student when the matter was stood down in the middle of evidence,” she said.

That student was Pamela Dhlamini, a protester who testified that members of the public order policing unit had manhandled her and other students before they breached parliamentary security on Wednesday afternoon.

A tearful Dhlamini was outside the court on Thursday morning, and asked media to give her space, saying the events of the past few days had been “traumatic”.

May said legal representatives from SAPS and the LRC met in Judge Nape Dolamo’s chambers earlier to “negotiate some kind of settlement or draft order”.

“Most important is the safety of the students and police not using excessive force,” she said.

Students who protested outside parliament on Wednesday had not brought an application for permission to do so, and May said this had caused “a lot of anxiety because of the fact that it was at Parliament and the National Keypoints Act had to therefore be taken into account”.

Lawyers for SAPS refused to give the media their names as they left the Western Cape High Court simply saying “we will not be holding a press conference, we are still negotiating, and are not sure when it will be in court.”

SAPS is planning to opposed the interdict.

Meanwhile, student protest action is expected to continue today.

May said she didn’t know if Cape Town students planned to get permission to protest outside Parliament today, but the students gathered at court said they plan to head there on Thursday afternoon. - ANA

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