Durban – EFF leader Julius Malema on Sunday slammed the justice system in the province when he went to Westville Prison to visit Durban University of Technology student Bonginkosi Khanyile.
Malema was accompanied by his deputy Floyd Shivambu and national chairman Dali Mpofu.
Khanyile has been denied bail since his arrest in September in connection with the violent #FeesMustFall protests.
About 15 buses brought EFF members to picket at the prison’s entrance. Among them were a few IFP and National Freedom Party members.
Malema said that in dealing with Khanyile’s case, the courts had acted “to please (President Jacob) Zuma”.
He said the court had denied Khanyile bail although he was not a flight risk or a threat to witnesses, “who are police”. He said the authorities lacked proof that Khanyile had violated his previous bail conditions by attending illegal gatherings.
“Zuma said they must break everything that is supporting the #FeesMustFall movement,” Malema alleged.
He said Khanyile was among a few young people brave enough to engage in a struggle for free education. He said that even during the struggle for liberation, few people had participated.
“All of us from time to time ask our parents, ‘where were you when others were fighting for our country?’
“The struggle is not for the weak,” he said.
Malema announced that the EFF would foot the bill for Khanyile’s legal costs and said the party would continue to support #FeesMustFall.
EFF leaders spent more than an hour inside the prison, apparently discussing the case with Khanyile.
Khanyile will return to the Durban Magistrate’s Court on January 19 to face charges of public violence, possession of explosives and assaulting police officers. He was arrested while on bail for another charge of trespassing. The EFF said the recent refusal of bail would be challenged at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In denying Khanyile bail last month, Judge Nkosinathi Chili said he had not been persuaded that the magistrate had been wrong.
At the time of his arrest in connection with protests at DUT, Khanyile was out on a warning for charges relating to a student protest in February.
The judge said that from the evidence he had concluded that Khanyile had participated in the unlawful gathering in direct breach of the warning conditions.
“A flagrant disregard of a court order borders on contempt. If it is condoned, law-abiding citizens are likely to lose confidence in our justice system.”
The judge said it would have been different if Khanyile had merely participated, but he had played a “vital role”.
“He was elevated above the crowds by his supporters, making utterances which, by his own admission, triggered violent behaviour among the crowds.”
Malema said the EFF had paid bail and hired “quality lawyers” for those arrested in connection with the demand for free higher education.
“And that is what we have done for our arrested fighter here. We have even done that for the ANC. We even rescue ANC people because their organisation is useless,” he said.