This is a slap in the face of victims: Glynnis Breytenbach on remissions

18 December 2019 - 09:29 By Cebelihle Bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa pardoned 14,000 prisoners on Monday, the Day of Reconciliation.
President Cyril Ramaphosa pardoned 14,000 prisoners on Monday, the Day of Reconciliation.
Image: TimesLIVE

The DA's shadow minister of justice and correctional services, Glynnis Breytenbach, has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa for granting remission to more than 14,000 prisoners.

Ramaphosa made the announcement on Monday, the Day of Reconciliation.

Breytenbach said it undermined the work done by under-resourced police and prosecutors, and was a “slap in the face of victims of crime”.

“The under-resourced and severely constrained police force works tirelessly, often with little or no recognition, to investigate crime and prepare evidence for criminal trial. Prosecutors work equally tirelessly under severe constraints to prosecute those cases in an effort to make SA a better place for all.”

Among those who qualify for remissions are Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe and AbaThembu king Buyel'Ekhaya Dalindyebo.

The process to reduce sentences by 12 months will start immediately and take up to nine months to complete, according to justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola.

Ramaphosa, during his announcement, said careful consideration was taken in the lead-up to the decision and he acknowledged the work done by the authorities in investigating and prosecuting criminals.

“This decision of giving remission to those who are in prison and those on probation will be implemented in various phases, starting with special categories, including women, children, the elderly, the youth and inmates with disabilities,” he said.

* This story has been amended to correct the reference to presidential pardons instead of remissions in the headline and the fifth paragraph.