More care needed in granting amnesty to those in jail
The Times Editorial: Presidential pardons and amnesty for criminals will always be contentious. President Jacob Zuma, referring to his predecessor's acts of kindness on "key national days", announced on Freedom Day that the sentences of certain prisoners would be reduced.
Since then, several of the prisoners released back into society appear to have again committed crimes - such as the 30-year-old who has been arrested for the rape of a 94-year-old woman.
The crime is heinous indeed. The woman's two great-grandchildren were forced to watch her being defiled.
The police have speculated that the young man allegedly committed this violent crime solely to be returned to prison.
This raises the question of who benefits from the release of prisoners? Who is responsible for the release of a criminal who then makes himself guilty of yet another crime? How can we be sure that a prisoner has, in fact, been rehabilitated?
At the time of the April announcement, Marje Jobson, of the Khulumani Support Group, said she wanted Zuma to review the release process: "We believe that the process is flawed . Many of the victims and their families do not read newspapers where the list [of those to be released] was advertised. Some are illiterate and live in deep rural areas."
The DA's James Selfe also criticised the amnesty, saying the process did not allow for a case-by-case consideration of offenders' circumstances or degree of rehabilitation.
"We believe that the premature release of un-rehabilitated prisoners is a danger to the public. Prisoners should be properly rehabilitated before they are allowed to walk the streets again. If they are not, they are likely to re-offend and end up back in jail, defeating the purpose of the special remission, which is to alleviate overcrowding," he said.
Unfortunately, a grandmother from KwaZulu-Natal appears to have become a victim of the president's largesse.