Amnesty deal for Fees Must Fall activists evades parties

Student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile and his mother Phumzile Kathini on their way to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to stage a sleep out hoping to get a presidential pardon for his conviction on charges of damage to property during the fees must fall student protests.
Student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile and his mother Phumzile Kathini on their way to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to stage a sleep out hoping to get a presidential pardon for his conviction on charges of damage to property during the fees must fall student protests.
Image: Thulani Mbele

Student activists calling for arrested and convicted fees must fall students to be pardoned have not reached a deal with the justice ministry.

This emerged at the joint media briefing between Justice minister Michael Masutha and Fees Must Fall activists to discuss the outcomes of the students' memorandum submitted last week.

Student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile, his mother Phumzile and Philani Gazuzu spent six days camped outside the Union Buildings in a bid to get a presidential amnesty on their involvement during the Fees Must Fall uprising at universities across the country.

Masutha said on the instruction of President Cyril Ramaphosa he met with higher education activists on Friday.

"This followed a prior engagement I had with similarly affected students who marched to the presidency in Tuynhuys, Cape Town on Wednesday," said Masutha.

"On both occasions I pointed out that in line with its respect for the principles of separation of powers and the rule of law, the executive branch of government had neither the mandate nor the inclination to favour any person or group of people with a specific or general reprieve outside the existing contitutional and legal framework. With respect to the pardons, the department of justice and constitutional development supports the process by way of facilitating applications and draft memoranda on the basis of which the minister makes a recommendation to the president for a decision."

The minister added that he had proposed that the students appoint a delegation to provide a list of those affected, noting that he had undertaken to assist them approach the National Prosecuting Authority to consider evaluating each case.

However, Khanyile said their demands are yet to be met.

"There was no factual agreement with the minister but we are committed in working with him," said Khanyile.

"Which is why we are saying all those who believe in the course must mobilise students to go out in the streets.

"Our demand is that there must be a general pardon or amnesty for all the Fees Must Fall activists."

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