95 lifers wait to hear their fate
Cape Town - Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will on Friday announce her decision on the parole applications of the first 95 of 385 offenders serving life sentences following a recent Constitutional Court ruling.
Mapisa-Nqakula approached the Constitutional Court at the beginning of the year to ask the court to clarify an order it handed down on September 30 2010, said he department.
Clarification was sought as to whether the National Council of Correctional Services (NCCS) still had a role to fulfil in processing and considering the parole of lifers sentenced before March 1 1994.
The NCCS had interpreted the judgment to mean that the minister should decide on the parole applications of this group of offenders without the advisory body's assistance, since the court's instruction did not mention the NCCS directly.
The court handed down judgment on March 31 2011 and indicated that its main judgment of September 30 2010 was clear insofar as there could be no doubt that it applied only to those inmates sentenced to life before the introduction of the 20 year minimum detention period on March 1 1994.
The court held that the NCCS was excluded from the process of parole consideration of inmates sentenced before March 1 1994.
This meant the minister should consider the placement of lifers falling within this category without the involvement of the NCCS.
Mapisa-Nqakula had duly considered the placement on parole of the first group of 95 lifers presented to her.
She would announce her decision on the sidelines of the two-day correctional services stakeholders' summit currently underway at Gallagher Estates in Midrand.