There has been mixed reaction from opposition MPs on the pronouncement by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola that he was willing to help convicted Fees Must Fall activists apply for presidential pardons.
While some like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) welcomed his intentions, others like the Democratic Alliance (DA) criticised the move, saying Lamola was in no position to offer to assist convicted Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe as this went against the separation of powers.
Lamola appeared before Parliament’s justice and correctional services committee on Wednesday to present his department’s annual report.
DA MP Werner Horn said Lamola should rather go into private practice if he wanted to offer his services to people who required a presidential pardon.
“This Constitution is underpinned by the separation of powers and the minister must clearly understand that if he wants to assist people to apply for a presidential pardon and expungement of records, with the greatest of respect, he must go back to private practice,” Horn said.
But the EFF’s Thilivhali Mulaudzi came to Lamola’s defence, saying they welcomed his gesture.
“We thought that he should have done that earlier to try to help the poor student [Cekeshe] who was fighting for free higher education,” Mulaudzi said.
Lamola told MPs that his willingness to help Cekeshe did not undermine the judiciary and that the offer was initially made by his predecessor Michael Masutha.
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