Family hopes Khanya Cekeshe will be home soon

Fees Must Fall's convicted activist, Kanya Cekeshe at Johannesburg magistrate's court.
Fees Must Fall's convicted activist, Kanya Cekeshe at Johannesburg magistrate's court.
Image: Antonio Muchave

The family for #FeesMustFall activist Kanya Cekeshe is crossing fingers for him to spend Christmas at home.

On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a remission of sentence for 14,000 offenders.

Minister of justice Ronald Lamola said the remission meant that Cekeshe qualified "immediately" for parole.

Cekeshe has been incarcerated at Leeuwkop Prison in Johannesburg since December 2017 after being sentenced to eight years of which three were suspended. This was after he was convicted on public violence and malicious damage to property charges.

He would have qualified for parole in February.

Speaking on behalf of Cekeshe family, his uncle Mnikelo Madala, 37, said the family welcomed the news.

"We are happy that he will be considered for a parole and he might be back at home for Christmas. However, we are also well aware that the remission does not equate to him getting parole automatically," he said.

He said at the moment the family is hoping for the parole application not to be flagged.

"However, until he comes back home, we will remain optimistic. This has been a challenging period for the family as we only got to see him during the weekend visits. The last time we saw him, he was coping very well.

"There have been rumours that he was suicidal, but as the family we did not see that. Even though I have not seen him after the news of the remission, I'm sure he is doing just fine."

Cekeshe's lawyer Wikus Steyl from Ian Levitt Attorneys said they were trying to meet with the parole board.

"The most difficult part is if the parole board had already had their last meeting for the year. At the moment we are trying to find out if there is still one meeting left for the year, so that we don't wait for them to meet in January. So, the plan now is to get the parole application in as soon as possible," Steyl said.

In June, Cekeshe petitioned Johannesburg High Court to appeal his conviction and sentence.

At the time, Sowetan sister publication TimesLIVE reported that Cekeshe had argued he did not get a fair trial and that his previous advocate had not presented him well.

Steyl said they were going ahead with the application for an appeal.

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