A number of EFF members have camped outside the Johannesburg High Court in support of Kanya Cekeshe, the #FeesMustFall activist who was sentenced to five years behind bars for public violence and malicious damage to property of a police vehicle in December 2017.
Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is arguing that Cekeshe be granted bail pending the appeal to his conviction and sentence. He argued that Cekeshe was poorly represented and denied a fair trial.
The matter continues in the High Court in Johannesburg, with more EFF members arriving to support the incarcerated activist.
Cekeshe pleaded guilty to public violence and malicious damage to property charges after the #FeesMustFall protests, which were in 2016. He has been behind bars since December 2017.
— Wits EFFSC (@WitsEFF) October 1, 2019
Cekeshe had filed a petition in the high court contesting his trial. In it, he alleges that his lawyer was “wholly unprepared and inexperienced” and claims this, among other reasons, led to him getting an unfair trial.
He also asserts that he was incorrectly advised to plead guilty even though the burden of proof regarding his charges was on the state.
Cekeshe accused his counsel of continuously interrupting the magistrate, going on incoherent rambling rants throughout the trial and repeatedly showing up late.
In his application, Cekeshe recalled how he was handed paraffin by a fellow protester and proceeded to douse an SAPS vehicle in it before setting it alight with his own matches.
He reiterates that even though the vehicle was damaged, no one was hurt as a result of his actions.
(Compiled by Gopolang Moloko, background reporting by Kaunda Selisho.)