News24

New medical parole policy delayed

2010-03-25 19:06

Cape Town - Implementation of the correctional services department's new medical parole policy will be delayed for legislative amendments, Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Thursday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote, she said the policy had been developed by the National Council for Correctional Services.

"Although it has been our intention to start to implement the policy by the beginning of the new financial year, it has, however, become clear that before this can be done, changes will have to be made to the Correctional Services Act," she said.

At a media briefing earlier on Thursday, Mapisa-Nqakula said one of the issues regarding granting parole on medical grounds was the current requirement that a person be "terminally ill" before being considered for such parole.

In reality, there were scores of prisoners in correctional centres who were really ill, but not on the verge of dying.

Such people included, among others, those who had suffered debilitating strokes, had full-blown Aids, were permanently bed-ridden, or otherwise seriously handicapped.

The question was whether it served any purpose to keep such people in prison, she said.