President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut the sentences of thousands of inmates by 12 months in a move that will enable the immediate release on parole of two of SA’s most contentious prisoners — Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe and AbaThembu King Buyel’Ekhaya Dalindyebo.

While Cekeshe is seeking to appeal his conviction and sentence for malicious damage to property, Dalindyebo has directly appealed to Ramaphosa for a presidential pardon. By paving the way for both men to be released, possibly before Christmas, the remission process buys the president time to consider Dalindyebo’s politically sensitive pardon application — without running the risk of furthering antagonising the king’s growing numbers of supporters by keeping him behind bars.

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