Ramaphosa hailed for decision to free Abathembu king, Fees Must Fall activist
Johannesburg - As Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe and Abathembu King (Buyelekhaya) Dalindyebo prepare to leave prison and head home, the government has vowed that the perpetrators of heinous crimes against the country’s women and children will not realise freedom any time soon.
On Monday, the EFF was among the parties that lauded the decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa to grant a handful of prisoners, including Cekeshe and King Dalindyebo, presidential pardons.
According to EFF leader Julius Malema, he had been informed by Ramaphosa on Sunday of Cekeshe’s impending parole.
“I got excited when the president told me Cekeshe would be going home. I got excited when he told me that King Dalindyebo would be going home. I got more excited when he told me that he would be releasing them with other prisoners, but that those prisoners arrested for rape, domestic violence, for killing women and those types of related crimes, would not be released,” Malema said.
He added: “When the president spoke about Khaya Cekeshe, he said this young man that the EFF has been campaigning (to have) released, would be released.”
Malema pointed out that Ramaphosa had been the first to inform the EFF about Cekeshe, because the red berets had been leading the campaign for his release.
Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola on Monday explained that Cekeshe qualified for immediate parole. He announced this in Pretoria - minutes after Ramaphosa announced his decision to grant a special remission of sentence to certain categories of prisoners in a Reconciliation Day speech in Bergville, KwaZulu-Natal.
Ramaphosa was adamant that those convicted for sexual offences and other violent crimes did not qualify for remission.
Lamola told the media that 14647 inmates were eligible for the special remission.
Reacting, King Dalindyebo’s spokesperson, Prince Mthunzi Ngonyana, said they were happy about his imminent release, but expressed concern about the parole conditions.
“Some of the parole conditions will likely not be favourable for the King. He is still the King, and has people waiting for his return. His release is what we want. He is needed by the community. People need solutions to land restitution. If land restitution is not attended to, it could lead to violence in the country,” Prince Ngonyama said.
“At last God has answered our prayers,” Contralesa president Kgoshi Mathupa Mokoena said. “It will bring stability in the AbaThembu Royal House,” Kgoshi Mokoena said.
Outlining Ramaphosa’s decision, Lamola said: “The decision taken by the president is in line with established international practice.”