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Fees activist Kanya Cekeshe 'qualifies immediately' for parole: Lamola

Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe.
Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe.
Image: Tyrone Mkansi via Twitter

Fees Must Fall student activist Kanya Cekeshe qualifies “immediately” for parole following a remission of sentences announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday.

According to justice minister Ronald Lamola, Cekeshe would have qualified for parole in around February 2020. However, Ramaphosa's announcement effectively knocks a year off the sentences of select categories of prisoners, parolees and probationers — which means that Cekeshe could start the parole application process right away.

At a Day of Reconciliation event in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, Ramaphosa announced that he had granted a “special remission of sentences” to prisoners and those out on parole. However, those who committed sexual offences and violent crimes would not qualify.

“The decision to grant the remissions of sentences are always carefully considered, taking into account the interest of the public and the administration of justice.

“It must be emphasised that this remission of sentences excludes those who are sentenced for sexual offences, for violent, aggressive offences, as well as people who are declared dangerous criminals in terms of section 286(A) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977.

“So those who have been sentenced for sexual offences, rape and murder of women, are not affected by this announcement that I am making,” Ramaphosa said.

Speaking about an hour after the announcement, Lamola said that Cekeshe would be among the more than 51,000 inmates who would benefit.

He explained that the remission was for 12 months for all inmates — except for certain categories who were excluded — and that “offenders who are classified to be of low risk” would get an additional 12 months' remission.