#FeesMustFall activists deliver memorandum to Presidency after two-week trek

2019-01-03 20:16
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WATCH: 'I am not intimidated and I'm not deterred' – Mcebo Dlamini, after trial postponement

2018-10-19 16:37

Fees Must Fall activist Mcebo Dlamini's trial date has been set. He briefly appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Friday before his trial was postponed to April 2019. Watch.WATCH

The Presidency says it has received a memorandum delivered by #FeesMustFall activists demanding blanket amnesty for fellow activists who have been convicted of crimes linked to the #FeesMustFall protests. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the Presidency said that its director general, Cassius Lubisi, had received the memorandum on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

Activists, led by Bonginkosi Khanyile, left Isandlwana in KwaZulu-Natal on December 18 for the Union Buildings as part of their campaign. Khanyile is also facing jail time after he was convicted of public violence and failing to comply with police instructions.

On Sunday, the group of about 40 people visited convicted activist Kanya Cekeshe at the Leeuwkop Correctional Centre in Johannesburg.

Khanyile also marched to the Union Buildings in August last year, over the same grievance.

Call for government to address unemployment

At the time, the Presidency said the protest should have been targeted at the Department of Justice and Correctional Services.

Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko said then that there were clear processes in place for those seeking presidential pardons, and that the president could not interfere with the prosecutorial decisions of the National Prosecuting Authority.

He also could not decree a blanket amnesty for the activists, she said.

On Wednesday, Diko said that Lubisi met the protesting delegation at the Union Buildings and said that government would respond to the memorandum.

The memorandum also addresses unemployment as well as other issues facing the youth, she said. 

"Dr Lubisi drew the group's attention to the offer extended five months ago by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services (Michael Masutha) to help #FeesMustFall activists comply with the procedures required for amnesty applications. 

Severity of charges a factor

"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," Diko said.  

"However, the minister indicated his willingness to guide students in making applications to the National Prosecuting Authority for a review of prosecutorial decisions in cases involving students who are already charged and whose matters are currently on trial.

"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," she said. 

Diko said that Masutha proposed that the students compile a list of all students who have been arrested, charged or convicted, or are still in court over the fee protests. Where appropriate, Masutha said he would guide the students in making applications 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," Diko said.

Read more on:    durban  |  pretoria  |  education  |  protests
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