EFF vows to free mentally ill Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe

20 November 2019 - 11:07 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Kanya Cekeshe was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in December 2017 after pleading guilty to setting alight a police van. His lawyer says he is 'suffering from extreme mental health problems'.
Kanya Cekeshe was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in December 2017 after pleading guilty to setting alight a police van. His lawyer says he is 'suffering from extreme mental health problems'.
Image: Vusumzi_Gqalane via Twitter

The EFF student command says it will intensify the fight for the release of Fees Must Fall student activist Kanya Cekeshe.

This after Cekeshe was sent back to prison after being hospitalised at the weekend, allegedly because he had not received medical treatment he needed in prison. 

Cekeshe was sentenced to five years' imprisonment in December 2017. He was arrested in 2016 and pleaded guilty to setting alight a police van during Fees Must Fall protests.

His lawyer, Wikus Steyl, told TimesLIVE that Cekeshe was “suffering from extreme mental health problems”.

“We are in the process of arranging a private psychiatrist and psychologist to urgently consult him,” Steyl said.

Speaking on Power 98.7, EFF student command president Mandla Shikwambana said: “Given these new developments with the status of Kanya, the EFF student command will intensify the struggle of saying we are going to go to the streets and make sure we fight for Kanya to be released.”

He called on communities and students countrywide to support Cekeshe.

He said, as students, they had given up on receiving assistance from the government.

“There is no political will and humanity within people that are leading us. Kanya now is back in prison where he lost his mind. You can tell this government doesn’t care about the future of the young.”

Cekeshe's bid to appeal his conviction for public violence and malicious damage to property, and be released on bail pending the appeal, was dismissed in the Johannesburg magistrate's court in October.

TimesLIVE reported that, in June, he petitioned the high court in Johannesburg to appeal his conviction and sentence. He argued that he did not get a fair trial because his previous advocate had not represented him well.


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