Student activists during their walk from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria.
Student activists during their walk from KwaZulu-Natal to Pretoria.
Image: Supplied

A group of student activists who have spent the last 15 days walking from KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to free Khanya Cekeshe‚ who is serving a five-year prison sentence for setting a police van alight during the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests. 

The group’s Philani Nduli said they visited Cekeshe at Leeuwkop prison in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“He is very strong and very grateful for the support he has been receiving from outside. We are hopeful that he will be released‚” said Nduli.

“We are walking from KwaZulu-Natal to show the president the level of seriousness and to raise [awareness of] our pain and suffering,” he said.

Other concerns listed in the memorandum include unemployment‚ poverty and a demand for free Wi-Fi in public spaces.

The group started their walk in Isandlwana in KwaZulu-Natal on December 18 and have been welcomed into people’s homes along the route.

“We stayed motivated by the issues we saw around when we walked. The poorest of the poor have been opening their houses to us‚ giving us stuff to sleep on the floor and even cooking meals for us‚” said Nduli.

The presidency could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

In 2018 justice minister Michael Masutha said there would be no blanket exemption from prosecution for students linked to violent Fees Must Fall protests‚ nor would presidential pardons be granted.

Masutha instead offered to guide students in making applications to the National Prosecuting Authority for a review of prosecutorial decisions in cases of those who have already been charged or who are currently on trial.