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Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe's mother calls for his release

In 2017, Cekeshe was sentenced to eight years in jail, with three years suspended, after he was found guilty of setting alight a police vehicle.

Convicted Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 9 October 2019. Picture: @EFFStudents/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The mother of Fees Must Fall's convicted activist Kanya Cekeshe said all she wanted was for her son to be set free and return to university.

In 2017, Cekeshe was sentenced to eight years in jail, with three years suspended, for malicious damage to property after he was found guilty of setting alight a police vehicle.

His mother said she was sad that she must wait for next week for the court's decision on his bail application.

“I'm really sad. I'm on the verge of tears right now. I had hoped that I'll be taking him home. He's just a child who was fighting for better education in terms of fees, for everybody," she said.

Lawyers for Cekeshe on Wednesday said there was insufficient evidence against their client despite his conviction.

He approached the Johannesburg Magistrates Court in an attempt to be released on bail pending an appeal.

Judgment in the bail application is expected to be handed down on Monday.

MISLED

In his opening remarks, Cekeshe’s lawyer Tembeka Ngcukaitobi told the court that the State was faced with two hurdles.

Ngcukaitobi said during the trial, the prosecution failed to produce video evidence and on the still images, no one could see the movement of a person in the pictures. He wanted the court to release his client on bail while they were preparing for an appeal.

The State said it would oppose the application.

But Ngcukaitobi told the court that his client was misled by his previous lawyer to plead guilty.

He said, as a result, Cekeshe was not adequately represented, rendering his trial unfair.

He, therefore, argued that the court must dismiss this application.

However, the State said Cekeshe understood the proceedings and he was the one who gave instructions to his previous lawyers.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said Cekeshe should be released from prison because he was not a criminal and he was only fighting for free education.

Speaking outside the court on Wednesday, EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said there was no reason to keep Cekeshe behind bars.

"This government must tell us why they hate the Fees Must Fall generation so much. What have these kids done to you? Why must they be subjected to injustice?"

Cekeshe will only know on Monday if he will be set free and his conviction set aside.

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