Students walk from North West to Gauteng, demand #FeesMustFall pardon

Students walk from North West to Gauteng, demand #FeesMustFall pardon

Student activists including Dikago Thebe Pule, right, walked 310km from Mahikeng to the Union Buildings to ask President Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon all students prosecuted after the #FeesMustFall protests, 4 September 2018. Picture: ANA

The students’ memorandum appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon student leaders prosecuted after the nationwide protests.

A group of student activists based in the North West arrived at the Union Buildings in Pretoria today after walking from Mahikeng, and handed over a memorandum requesting a presidential pardon for all students behind bars or facing charges in connection with #FeesMustFall protests.

“The call to pardon all #FeesMustFall activists is based on the constitutional understanding on powers of the president. Understanding that the revolution waged was of good cause, which government later confirmed through the introduction of the first phase of free education in institutions of higher learning,” Dikago Thebe Pule, a representative of the students, read out the memorandum.

“The ongoing court cases are prejudicial to the activists as they happen to affect their studies, and also impact negatively on their families which endure financial burdens of paying the legal costs.”

Pule said, if anything, law enforcement officers and campuses’ security must face the law for brutalising the students during the massive, nationwide protests “for free, decolonised higher education”.

The students’ memorandum said many of their colleagues have been punished by universities for taking part in the historic protests.

“We therefore request the president, through the ministerial task teams, to advocate for all students who were suspended and expelled to be brought back into the system and to continue with their studies. Students in this country are not criminals. They are a reservoir of skills and knowledge.”

The students’ memorandum also appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa to pardon student leaders.

“The trip was so tiring. We started our journey on Wednesday, in the morning. We have only arrived in Pretoria today. We had no food, and we had many challenges. We had not have a place to sleep. At times we had to sleep on the streets. The idea of walking was to raise awareness,” he said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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