Johannesburg - EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has again appealed to government to release and drop all charges against all Fees Must Fall activists, who are charged in connection with violent protests at higher learning institutions.
Speaking before Parliament’s plenary sitting, Ndlozi said: “We are therefore calling on all charges on the #FeesMustFall activists to be dropped with immediate effect, particularly by the universities that have expelled all these activists. Let all those expulsions fall.
“Allow the children to come back and focused on their studies in the attainment of education. The same way you freed Nelson Mandela who was arrested in possession of explosives and guns, who had sworn as the MK commander to kill people,” said Ndlozi.
The damage caused at universities and training colleges by the Fees Must Fall protests has soared to nearly R800 million.
In a written response to Parliament, Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor said the damage to higher education institutions as a result of the Fees Must Fall student movement was at R600 million.
Ndlozi, however, appealed to the government to stop treating university students like criminals.
“The same way you were willing to release Nelson Mandela from prison calling him a freedom fighter, you must free all Fees Must Fall activists from prison, unconditionally. They never killed, they were fighting for access to education, stop criminalising them.
“These are not criminals like Duduzane Zuma, Mduduzi Manana or Andile Lungisa, or potential criminals like some Ministers here who are serving in the cabinet of Thuma Mina. They are freedom fighters, simply seeking the attainment of economic freedom in their lifetime,” said Ndlozi.
Minister of Justice Michael Masutha has also received a memorandum from Fees Must Fall activists who are demanding they receive a presidential pardon from criminal charges they face following fee-hike unrest.
Students activists including Wits University SRC spokesperson Mcebo Dlamini have appealed to the minister to grant them amnesty, and release them from all criminal charges.