News & Conflicts

South African students are seeking Presidential pardon after #FeesMustFall protests

On 2 January, Activists arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, marching from KwaZuluNatal to the Leeukop correctional centre in Gauteng, where student activist Kanya Cekeshe is serving a sentence from the #FeesMustFall protest. The students met with Director-General in The Presidency and Secretary of the Cabinet – Dr Cassius Reginald Lubisi who received a memorandum on behalf of the President demanding blanket amnesty for activists who have been convicted of crimes during the protest in 2017.

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.” However, he expressed his willingness to guide students in making applications to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a review of prosecutorial decisions in cases involving students who are already charged and whose matters are currently on trial.

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