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Justice Minister says dept willing to help students with amnesty bid

Justice Minister Michael Masutha accepted a memorandum from the Fees Must Fall movement asking government to drop charges against those arrested during protests in 2015 and 2016.

FILE: Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN – Justice Minister Michael Masutha says his department is willing to assist students with amnesty applications.

On Wednesday, he accepted a memorandum from the Fees Must Fall movement, which gathered outside Parliament, asking government to drop charges against those arrested during protests in 2015 and 2016.

A heavy police presence kept a watchful eye over students from the University of the Western Cape, the University of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

The students sang and held placards which read, "Forgive us Mr President" and "Degrees not criminal records".

UCT student Khululwa Mthi says they fought for a legitimate cause, which is free education.

“We’re saying that we do not want this, please scrap these things so that we can continue as students and so that we can enjoy the benefits of what we fought for.”

UWC's Songezo Booi explains that he's been charged with being in possession of stolen property because he was caught with a fire extinguisher.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha accepted their memorandum.

“We can advise them of the technical processes that need to be followed.”

The minister has warned he cannot guarantee amnesty will be granted.