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Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe to learn his fate

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.

FILE: Kanya Cekeshe approached the Johannesburg Magistrates Court in an attempt to be released on bail pending his appeal. Picture: @EFFStudents/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe is expected to find out on Monday if he will be granted leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

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 during Fees Must Fall protests.

His lawyers have argued that there was insufficient evidence against him despite his conviction.

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

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command said it hoped Cekeshe would be released on bail and granted leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

EFF Student Command president Mandla Shikwambana said: “We will always support the marginalised and people who are treated unfairly by the courts of South Africa. We’re here to day for the judgment of Kanya and we hope for the best that he will be granted bail and come out to continue his studies.”

Judgment is expected to be handed down at 2 pm.

MISLED

In his opening remarks last week, 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 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?"

Additional reporting by Edwin Ntshidi.

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