Life prisoners given parole
Johannesburg - Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced on Friday that 30 prisoners sentenced to life prison terms before March 1994 will be released.
She said another 18 would be granted day parole. Her announcement follows a Constitutional Court ruling last September that offenders sentenced to life imprisonment before March 1, 1994 could be considered for parole after serving 15 years of their sentence.
Currently inmates sentenced to life imprisonment must serve at least serve 20 years of their sentence, but prior to March 1994 the minimum sentence before parole consideration was 15 years.
She said 64 prisoners had been considered for parole and 30 had been refused parole.
She said ultimately there were 385 inmates affected by the ruling. She hoped to have adjudicated on 95 inmates by next week Tuesday.
She declined to name any of the inmates who had been considered for parole or go into any detail about the crimes for which they were convicted.
She said some had been convicted of common crimes while others had been convicted of crimes they had committed during the political violence of the 1980s and early 1990s.
She urged the public to remain calm.
"We should not go into a state of panic because 385 people are eligible for parole," she said.