Fees Must Fall leaders plead for release of last remaining student in jail

2016-11-26 08:25


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Durban - A group of Fees Must Fall leaders in Durban are appealing to authorities to grant bail to a fellow leader who was arrested two months ago during protests.

Bonginkosi Khanyile has been behind bars since September 27 and the movement says he is now the only student countrywide who hasn't been granted bail following the most recent wave of protests.

He has been charged with public violence, gathering illegally and inciting violence.

Khanyile last appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court in November and is expected to appear there again on Monday.

Student leaders on Friday called for his release from custody ahead of Monday's appearance.

Leading the calls for his release on bail was EFF and Fees Must Fall leader Gazuzu Nduli, who said denying Khanyile's release was an attempt by authorities and government to intimidate students.

"Why is it that people like Oscar Pistorius, who kills his girlfriend, are allowed bail? We have hardened criminals being set free pending trial, but this student is still in prison. They are trying to send a message to students that if you protest, you will be arrested."

When asked about the charges levelled against Khanyile, Nduli said the violence was not as serious as it was made out to be.

"They caught him on camera using a sling shot. When we grow up in the farms and townships, this is a common thing. There is an agenda to keep him there because he is vocal about giving the black child free education."

'These protests are our June 16'

Nduli said the government was using apartheid-style tactics.

"These protests are our June 16. And our police and government are not talking about these issues. They want to send police to silence us."

He added that Khanyile should be allowed to spend the festive season with his family.

"We call for the immediate release of our fellow student. He must be allowed time to spend with his family and loved ones as we approach the festive season."

Also speaking alongside the Fees Must Fall movement was Anglican Reverend Vernon Hammond.

He said that one student in prison in the entire country was unjust and unfair.

He also questioned why Khanyile was being denied bail when "hardened criminals are allowed to walk the streets".

"In the 21st century in SA, I don't understand how someone can be behind bars for standing up for free tertiary education."

Read more on:    eff  |  durban ­  |  university protests  |  univeristy fees  |  fees must fall

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