File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).
File picture: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency(ANA).

Kanya Cekeshe's family confirms he's coming home soon

By SIHLE MAVUSO and Khanyisile Ngcobo Time of article published Dec 16, 2019

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The family of jailed fees must fall activist Kanya Cekeshe has confirmed that he is coming home soon and they would still pursue the legal fight to set aside his conviction.

Nkanyiso Cekeshe, a relative of Cekeshe who has been at the forefront of the battle to get him out of jail, told Independent Media late on Monday that they have been officially informed that he would be one of the people who would benefit from the special remission of sentences. 

The process was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday in Bergville, KZN during the commemoration of this year's reconciliation day.

Nkanyiso said this was the best news ever but they were still not sure of when exactly he would be released from custody.

“Yes, we have been officially informed that Cekeshe would be released from prison as part of the remission process. The news was announced today and we are of course excited about that,” he said. 

Nkanyiso said despite the remission, they would still continue to fight to set aside the 2017 conviction of Kanya after he pleaded guilty to torching a police vehicle during the fees must fall protests of 2016.

“We will still go to court to fight his conviction,” he said briefly.  

In the legal battle that is already before courts, Cekeshe is fighting the conviction on the basis that his previous legal team did not represent him well. If he wins, his criminal record would be expunged.

On Monday afternoon, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola announced that Cekeshe and AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo would be among those who stand to benefit from Ramaphosa's announcement. 

This includes sentenced offenders in specific categories, parolees and those on probation. 

Those jailed for sexual offences and violent crimes would not qualify for this remission.

Lamola told media that Dalindyebo had applied for presidential pardon and that his application was still under consideration by Ramaphosa.

"When the president has considered that application, he will make an announcement about his decision in that regard. 

"With regard to whether he will benefit on a remission or not, he will benefit... and his benefit is 12 months. Which means he's going to cut his sentence by 12 months.

Regarding Cekeshe, Lamola said the activist qualified for 12 months remission of sentence and because he qualified for parole in 2020, Ramaphosa's announcement meant Cekeshe qualified for parole "immediately".

Political Bureau

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