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NYDA backs amnesty call for #FeesMustFall activists

The agency says it views the continued court proceedings as well as the conviction of student activists as an anti-thesis for the struggle for a just and free education system which has been achieved.

FILE: Students outside Parliament want government to respond to their call for amnesty for those arrested during the Fees Must Fall protests. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) says it supports the call to President Cyril Ramaphosa to grant amnesty to all Fess Must Fall student activists.

Earlier this week, students from the Fees Must Fall movement gathered outside Parliament, calling for amnesty for students charged during protests in 2015 and 2016.

Students say the cases date back to 2016 and some of the charges include public violence and attempted murder.

The agency says it views the continued court proceedings as well as the conviction of student activists as an anti-thesis for the struggle for a just and free education system which has been achieved.

However, it condemns elements of violence and vandalism which it believes must be addressed.

Spokesperson Lerato Gambu says it calls for the release of all arrested students and the expunging of their criminal records.

“Most importantly, we have also called for a dialogue into the nature of protest action across our institutions because we’re also saying Nsfas [National Student Financial Aid Scheme] must get its house in order so that we avert future protests, particularly around the issue of higher education.”

The agency says its written to the president to consider the long-term effect of the charges on student leaders.

WATCH: Students ask Ramaphosa to provide amnesty for Fees Must Fall activists