The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) is elated following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement that fees must fall activist, Kanya Cekeshe, is due to be released.
We are reminded by the truism of the dictum, “Another man’s terrorist, is another’s freedom fighter”
Here is a Youngman whose future endeavours were grotesquely shattered by a squalid criminal justice system anchored by incessant bourgeoise democratic rights and grotesque liberal legalities.
His crime was to challenge the government of the day to implement free decolonised education as correctly propounded by the constitution of the republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996.
Cekeshe and his peers engaged in a revolutionary act demanding the decommodification of education. Education is in our view, a basic human right that must be put at the disposal of all to guarantee redress , equity and total transformation.
He and his comrades in the fees must fall movement were rubbished as common criminals by an intransigient tripartite ANC government.
Nothwistanding the legal submissions made by his legal team after he initial received poor legal advise, Cekeshe was convicted without reasonable doubt on the strength of hear say evidence!
Not even one state witness could adduce evidence to the fact that Cekeshe burned a police vehicle for instance.
We are disappointed that in spite of the outrage from various civil society bodies, President Ramaphosa and his government digged in their heels on this matter up to the last moment.
No matter how much the government wanted to portray the Cekeshe case as just another act of criminality the reasons for his arrest, conviction and now parole are very political.
But we cant understand why more than 25 years after formal democracy, students can be criminalised in this manner through force of arms including using the security forces and intelligence community to spy on its own children!
Why do we still have APLA cadres in our South African Jails when this government is financing Rodriguez the coldblooded murder of anti- apartheid activist Ahmed Timol?
While we welcome this 12 months remission of sentence, we appreciate that Cekeshe will still remain a convicted criminal albeit under parole.
The process to set aside his unjust conviction must now start in earnest at least with him being afforded an opportunity to spend the new year outside the limitations of prison bars.
To SAFTU, Cekeshe and other imprisoned fees must fall activists are revolutionaries not terrorists or criminals.
The struggle for a more humane more democratic , just and equitable and egalitarian South Africa continues!