EFF members gather outside Westville prison for jailed #FeesMustFall activist

Julius Malema outside Westville Prison (Amanda Khoza, News24)
Julius Malema outside Westville Prison (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Durban - Hundreds of EFF members have gathered outside KwaZulu-Natal's Westville prison in a show of support for detained student leader, Bonginkosi Khanyile.

Khanyile was arrested in September during the Fees Must Fall protests and has remained behind bars, despite the release of other student leaders around the country.

He faces charges of assault and possession of a dangerous weapon, among others.

The party's leader Julius Malema is expected to address the crowd.

The gathering was held amid tight security with both Metro Police and SAPS monitoring the outside of the prison.

As EFF supporters gathered in Westville, the ANC, Malema's former party, was hosting its 105th anniversary celebrations in Orlando, Soweto.

Malema previously said those who went to the ANC celebrations would be traitors. 

'Fighting for the right cause'

Oscar Ngcobo, 53, came all the way from Ndundulu in Melmoth for the EFF event.

"We are here to support the student because we believe he was fighting for the right cause. He must be released."

Ngcobo, who joined the party in 2013, said he followed his leader, Malema, whenever he called a gathering.

"He makes me feel 23. He is full of energy.

"In the past we had King Shaka Zulu. He had energy and then decades later, Mandela came. He also started at an early age.

"We were freed but we are not economically free. Malema is our only hope."

Free education

Simphiwe Hlabisa, 42, from Richards Bay said, "We want the student to be released and support the call for free education. We are poor and struggling".

Ntombifikile Mgiqika, 55, from Sydenham said she was there to fight for the release of Khanyile because other leaders had been released.

"The rain is not a problem, we want economic freedom and we want our president to take us out of shack dwellings."

Malema arrived at the prison at around 11:15 and, accompanied by Dali Mpofu and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, went over to Khanyile's mother Phumzile Khathini and other members of the family.

They then went inside the prison and were expected to brief the media after their visit.

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