'This is the antithesis of justice' - Youth agency says Ramaphosa must pardon students
The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) has backed student activists who want President Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon them for acts committed during the Fees Must Fall protests.
“The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) joins all progressive calls for the President of the Republic of South Africa‚ Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa to grant amnesty to all Fees Must Fall student activists. We view the continued court proceedings as well as conviction of student activists as an antithesis for the struggle for a just and free education system which has been achieved‚” the agency said in a statement.
“We do however condemn elements of violence and vandalism which we believe must be addressed. However‚ as a start‚ we call for the release of all arrested students and the expunge of their criminal records.”
The agency said its executive chairperson‚ Sifiso Mtsweni‚ had written to the president to ask him “to consider the long-term effect of the charges on student leaders but also to exercise prerogative and grant a presidential pardon to all activists.”
Convicted Fees Must Fall activist Bonginkosi Khanyile has vowed to sleep at the Union Buildings until Ramaphosa gives him an audience. The Durban University of Technology student wants Ramaphosa to pardon to all Fees Must Fall activists.
Khanyile’s protest echoes that of former Wits University SRC president Mcebo Dlamini‚ who has written to Ramaphosa with a similar plea. Dlamini has been charged with theft‚ assault‚ public violence and malicious damage to property relating to incidents that unfolded during the October 2016 fee-hike revolt.
Khanyile was found guilty of public violence‚ failing to comply with police instructions and possession of a dangerous weapon.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) on Tuesday expressed its support for the Fees Must Fall activists and urged local and international comrades to do the same.