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Lamola: Presidential pardon for student activists not to undermine judiciary

Minister Ronald Lamola appeared before the National Assembly’s justice and correctional services portfolio committee on Wednesday to present his department’s annual report.

FILE: Ronald Lamola added that a pardon process was not to undo the work of the prosecutor in the case. Picture: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola said he was committed to assisting Fees Must Fall activists who have been criminally convicted.

Lamola appeared before the National Assembly’s justice and correctional services portfolio committee on Wednesday to present his department’s annual report.

He told members of Parliament (MPs) willingness to help convicted activist Kanya Cekeshe with a presidential pardon didn't undermine the judiciary.

Lamola gave MPs an overview before presenting the department’s annual report, where he said there would be no blanket amnesty for everyone.

He said, however, he was committed and available to help student activists like Cekeshe who was convicted of public violence and malicious damage to property when he tried to set a police van alight during the protests in 2016.

“I remain available to help the students of the Fees Must Fall movement if they may need some kind of help from our side, which includes the Legal Aid South Africa, and our offices which helps people with the application for a presidential pardon.”

Lamola added that a pardon process was not to undo the work of the prosecutor in the case.

At the same time, the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday accused Lamola of showing contempt for the justice system by trying to assist Cekeshe to apply for a presidential pardon.

Cekeshe’s bail and application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence were dismissed at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court on Monday.

His legal team petitioned the Johannesburg High Court for an urgent bail application while Lamola vowed that his department would assist Cekeshe to get a presidential pardon.

“For the minister to enter the arena, making a mockery of the hard work of the NPA in pursuing the case and securing a conviction, and showing contempt for the judiciary by suggesting that their work should simply be undone by the stroke of a presidential pen is something that should concern us all,” said the DA’s spokesperson on justice Glynnis Breytenbach.

Additional reporting by Bonga Dlulane

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