Heavy police presence in parliament as students ask for activists’ freedom

Student bodies have called on their peers from all institutions to join the call in asking Ramaphosa to pardon Fees Must Fall activists.

There was heavy police presence outside parliament on Wednesday as students from higher learning institutions in Cape Town marched to parliament to ask President Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon those charged during the Fees Must Fall protests.

The University of Cape Town Student Representative Council (UCT SRC) urged students from all institutions to join the call in asking Ramaphosa to pardon student activists.

“As an SRC that exists at UCT, we have witnessed and are undergoing an Institutional Reconciliation and Transformation Commission. This commission from the onset was established on the backdrop of protest, out of cries by students and workers for restorative justice to be practised instead of punitive measures being taken towards student activists. Out of this process, we have witnessed a campus with calm and in dialogue. 12 students, who were expelled and suspended subsequently received amnesty and were allowed to continue their studies,” the SRC said.

The march comes a day after convicted student activist Bonginkosi Khanyile staged a sleepout at Union Buildings on Tuesday asking for amnesty from Ramaphosa.

The Fees Must Fall activist was accompanied by his mother and members of the Economic Freedom Students’ Command.

He was convicted on charges of public violence‚ failing to comply with a police instruction and possession of a dangerous weapon by the Durban Regional Court last week.

Khanyile has vowed to sleep on the Union Buildings lawns until he gets a response from the president.


Last week, another Fees Must Fall activist, Mcebo Dlamini embarked on a walk from Wits University to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to ask Ramaphosa to release activists arrested during the protests.

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