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Family 'disappointed' after Kanya Cekeshe’s bail denied

The Johannesburg Magistrates Court has refused him to grant him leave to appeal his conviction.

A YouTube screengrab of Kanya Cekeshe in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on 14 October 2019.

JOHANNESBURG - The family of convicted Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe expressed disappointment that he was not released on bail.

The Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Monday refused to grant him leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

In 2017, Cekeshe was sentenced to eight years in prison with three years suspended for malicious damage to property.

He pleaded guilty to setting alight a police van during the Fess Must Fall protests.

Cekeshe approached the magistrates court wanting to be released on bail and to appeal his conviction.

His advocate Thembeka Ngcukaitobi argued that the State had no case against him, adding that he was misled when he pleaded guilty.

However, the court disagreed, saying releasing him on bail is not in the interests of justice.

His uncle Mnikelo Madala said: “We will petition the high court. This is what we will do.”

Cekeshe’s legal team intends approaching a higher court for leave to appeal.

PRESIDENTIAL PARDON

In the meantime, the justice ministry is in talks over a presidential pardon.

Taking to Twitter shortly after the judgment, Lamola said the government had noted the dismissal of both the leave to appeal and bail against the only Fees Must Fall activist in custody.

“We note the dismissal of both the leave to appeal and bail for Fees Must Fall activists Kanya Cekeshe by the Johannesburg Magistrate Court. We’re in the process of urgently assisting him with an application for presidential pardon or other legally available avenues,” he tweeted.

The minister’s spokesperson Chrispin Phiri said: “There is a process that we are willing to implement and follow to ensure that people who were convicted during the Fees Must Fall protests, we can assist them to ensure that, where necessary, we expunge their record and facilitate a presidential pardon.”

The department also asked the South African Union of Students to submit a list of Fees Must Fall activists who need presidential pardon.

Phiri said: “We’d like to look at thing case by case basis and see how we can motivate for some instances to be granted presidential pardon. In some instances, we’ll reach a conclusion and we’d like to provide reasons that this is not in the interest of society to condone such an action.”

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