The Johannesburg magistrate’s court has found Fees Must Fall activist Mcebo Dlamini guilty of public violence.
Dlamini broke the news on his Facebook page on Monday. The court handed him a prison sentence of two and a half years, suspended for five years.
This means the he will not go to prison, but should he be found guilty of a similar crime within the next five years, the sentence would kick in.
‘The end of my legal career’
In his Facebook post, Dlamini wrote, “Today marked the end of my legal career. I will take time to reflect on my future moving forward including my political career.”
The long-drawn-out case started soon after Dlamini was arrested in 2016 at the height of the Fees Must Fall protests.
He was the president of the student representative council (SRC) at the University of the Witwatersrand when he led the student protests at the time.
Advocates Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi have represented Dlamini at various points during the trial.
Dlamini’s ANCYL ambitions
This is the third high profile conviction of a Fees Must Fall activist. Kanya Cekeshe was released late last year after serving two years of his five-year prison sentence for public violence and malicious damage to property.
Another activist, Bonginkosi Khanyile, is serving a three-year house arrest sentence for similar offences.
His house arrest conditions include regularly reporting to the Department of Correctional Services, attending life skills courses, doing community service, and requesting for permission every time he needs to go somewhere.
Dlamini appears to be in the running for President of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), whose national conference is scheduled for May this year.
In the recent past, he has made appearances at key ANC events, including the party’s provincial 108th anniversary rally in KwaZulu-Natal.
He shared several pictures of himself at the event with various ANC leaders, including Secretary General Ace Magashule and ANC Women’s League President Bathabile Dlamini, on his Facebook page.