Yongama Zigebe, UDMYV Secretary Gauteng

The United Democratic Movement Youth Vanguard is very much dismayed by the decision of the Johannesburg Magistrate Court in dismissing Khanya Cekeshe’s application for bail and denying him leave to appeal his conviction and sentence.

This can easily be construed as a rigid application of the law to a political case as the fees must fall protest was a political protest and such an important element cannot be neglected.

Another factor is the glaring incompetency of Cekeshe’s previous lawyers in the matter who because of lack of knowledge ill-advised its client and such renders the trial unfair as correctly argued by Cekeshe’s new legal representatives.

The very painful part about this case is the fact that Cekeshe is the only student that is languishing behind bars for a call for free education which was later affirmed by the government in power by its pronouncement made on the 16th of December 2017, on free education, other fellow #feesmustfall activists are free, some are under house arrest, Why can’t the Department of Justice do the same for Khanya? He is no criminal nor a threat into the community.

When one looks at the decision of the court, it becomes clear that a number of factors were not considered especially the reasons behind violent protests that have become the norm of the day. Our government does not take serious peaceful negotiations. The only language that it is prepared to listened to is when communities or students resort to embark on violent protest actions. So, in this case of Cekeshe, the government is part to blame.
The UDMYV doesn’t condone violence but Cekeshe is none other than a victim of circumstances.

The UDMYV fully supports the call by the legal practitioners to petition the High Court in this matter. We also appreciate the change of heart to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services by considering a Presidential pardon because He said he had no support towards the #feesmustfall activists not so long along.

As we celebrated his appointment to be a Minister as a young person, now he must give us another reason to celebrate him by doing his work which is assisting young people that are hungry for education such as Khanya Cekeshe.

We also call on every young person in this country to supplement the legal advocacy done by Cekeshe’s lawyers by using other forms advocacy to put pressure on the state to release Khanya and allow him to go and spend time with family.