Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says his department is in the process of assisting Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe with a presidential pardon.
"We note the dismissal of both the leave to appeal and bail for fees must fall activist Khaya Cekeshe by the Johannesburg Magistrate Court.
"We're in the process of urgently assisting him with an application for presidential pardon or other legally available avenues," said Lamola in a tweet.
On Monday, Magistrate Theunis Carstens denied Cekeshe leave to appeal his 2017 conviction for public violence and malicious damage to property.
He pleaded guilty to setting a police vehicle alight during a Fees Must Fall protest in 2016.
Cekeshe has been in Leeuwkop prison since December 2017, after he was sentenced to five years in prison.
He received an eight year sentence with three of those years suspended.
Cekeshe's legal representative Tembeka Ngcukaitobi said they will approach the High Court for leave to appeal.