HSF Concerned by Treason Charges

The Helen Suzman Foundation (HSF) notes, with deep concern, that arrested students involved in the #FeesMustFall protest at Parliament yesterday have allegedly been charged with treason.  

The HSF recognises that the SAPS and NPA have the right to detain, arrest, and prosecute any person who prima facie appears to have committed an unlawful act. It is imperative, however, that in exercising their powers of detention, arrest and prosecution that the SAPS and the NPA do so fairly and reasonably.

If social media and news reports are to be believed, and the students have been charged with treason, we call upon the State to reconsider its case immediately.

At the heart of our constitutional democracy lies the tension between a democratically elected government’s right to rule and the people’s right to accountable government. These protests, like many others, demonstrate that something is deeply wrong with our politics. Charging student activists with treason - the overthrow of the existing constitutional democratic state - serves as further evidence that the accountability gap in South Africa is widening. This state of affairs is cause for grave concern and we urge all those involved to act with restraint in the national interest.

For media enquiries:
Helen Suzman Foundation - 011 482 2872
Francis Antonie - Director - francis@hsf.org.za
Kameel Premhid - Legal Reseracher - kameel@hsf.org.za
Matthew Kruger - Legal Researcher - matthew@hsf.org.za