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'They were all in tears': Kanya Cekeshe’s family elated over parole news

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on Sunday announced that Cekeshe qualified for parole but would not confirm whether the activist would receive a presidential pardon.

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

CAPE TOWN - Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe’s family was elated at the news that he was eligible for parole.
Cekeshe has been in Leeuwkop prison since December 2017.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on Sunday announced that Cekeshe qualified for parole but would not confirm whether the activist would receive a presidential pardon.

Cekeshe’s lawyer Wikus Steyl said the family communicated the news with the activist.

“I had a long chat with the family and they were all in tears. It is absolutely good news. We must just now figure out how soon we can get Kanya out and how soon we can apply for his parole.”

Lamola's announcement came after President Cyril Ramaphosa granted a special remission of sentence to specific categories of sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees.

"Remissions of sentences are always carefully considered, taking into account the interests of the public and the administration of justice. We recognise that incarceration has followed a judicial process and that sentences have been duly imposed after conviction," the president said.

The pardons will not include offenders sentenced for sexual offences, murder and attempted murder, armed robbery, mentally-ill sedition, high treason, sabotage and terrorism. As of November 2019, there were 163,015 offenders across the country’s 243 correctional centres for both sentenced and remand detainees. The department said there was a total of 70,930 parolees and probationers under the system of community corrections - these are offenders who are no longer in correctional facilities but are already in communities. Therefore, the total offender population is 233,945.