Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says his department is in the process of assisting Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe with an application to get a pardon from President Cyril Ramaphosa. Earlier the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court dismissed Cekeshe’s appeal his conviction.

The student activist was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2017, with three years suspended after pleading guilty to burning a police van at the height of the Fees Must Fall protests in 2016. On his official Twitter account Lamola says his department will seek to assist Cekeshe with either an urgent application for a presidential pardon or other legally available avenues.

“The minister has made it clear that he will be extending his assistance to assist Mr Cekeshe to apply for a presidential pardon. He would then make a recommendation to the president, which the president would then take further. A recommendation will also be motivating as to why he thinks Mr Cekeshe is eligible for a presidential pardon,” says Lamola’s spokesperson is Chrispen Phiri .

Meanwhile, members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Student Command say the justice system has let them down. “We have tried all procedures, we have tried all the ways and we have given them all the time they need, but they have showed us the middle finger and they are chasing us to the street. They are saying we must go to the streets and demand Kanya in the streets and the streets is what we are going to give them,” says President of the EFF student command, Mandla Shikwambana .