JOHANNESBURG, January 2 – Activists marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday where they handed over a memorandum calling for blanket amnesty for students convicted of crimes arising from the Fees Must Fall protests in 2017.
In a statement, Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said Presidency Director-General Dr Cassius Lubisi met the delegation. He received the memorandum on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Activists arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria today, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 following a march from KwaZulu-Natal to the Leeukop correctional centre in Gauteng where activist Kanya Cekeshe is serving a sentence arising from #FeesMustFall protest.”
Cekeshe is currently behind bars in Leeuwkop prison in Bryanston after he was sentenced last year for his role in the protests at Wits University.
The delegation also raised issues affecting youth such as unemployment.
Lubisi reiterated an offer by the Justice and Correctional Services Minister five months ago to help activists comply with amnesty application procedures.
“On that occasion Minister Masutha pointed out to the #FeesMustFall movement that no blanket exemption from prosecution or presidential pardons would be granted for students linked to #FeesMustFall-related violence”, said Diko.
“The Minister stated that President Cyril Ramaphosa could not interfere with judicial processes and said presidential pardons were granted in respect of convicted and sentenced persons only on the basis of the information they provide and in circumstances where applicants showed good cause. Furthermore, under no circumstances could presidential pardons be predetermined.”
But, Masutha suggested the activists provide a list of the names of all students who have been arrested, charged or convicted so that they could be helped in the process of applying for a presidential pardon.
“The Minister said the severity of the charges concerned and public interest in these cases were among the factors the President would need to take into account before deciding whether to grant amnesty.” (ANA)