Scores of young people calling for the release of jailed Fees Must Fall activist, Kanya Cekeshe, are marching to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and Parliament in Cape Town today.
The march is organised by student wings of different political parties including Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command, the South African Students Congress and the Pan Africanist Student Movement (Pasma).
Activist and Cekeshe’s close friend, Nkanyiso Ngqulunga, told Newsnote that the march is about demanding justice.
“They [students] demand that the call for a presidential pardon materialize, so it’s all systems go,” he said.
Cekeshe has been jailed at Leeuwkop prison since December 2017, after he was sentenced to eight years behind bars – with three suspended - for public violence and malicious damage to property. He pleaded guilty to trying to set a police van alight during a #FeesMustFall protest in 2016.
Cekeshe's bid to appeal his conviction and be released on bail pending the appeal was dismissed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last month. His legal team is now looking at parole options and they have now taken the case to a high court.
“There can never be a possibility of a parole if the matter is still in court. Remember we have to exhaust all legal matters before we make an application for pardon,” Ngqulunga said.
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, has previously said he would engage President Cyril Ramaphosa to consider granting Cekeshe a presidential pardon.
Cekeshe was hospitalized a fortnight ago for stress related illness, but his friend Ngqulunga who keeps regular contact with him said he is doing better.
With the December holiday approaching fast, hopes of getting Cekeshe home for Christmas are fading fast, but his legal team is determined to get him out at some point.
In the meantime, fellow students believe that adding pressure on Ramaphosa to free Cekeshe might just result in a positive outcome.