ConCourt to rule on pardons

2009-08-24 20:03

Cape Town - Arguments will be heard in the Constitutional Court on Tuesday on whether 384 prisoners, some serving sentences for murder and robbery, are entitled to apply for political pardons.

Inkatha Freedom Party chief whip Koos van der Merwe said on Monday he hoped the matter would "finally be resolved" six years after applications for presidential pardons were made.

"Most of them are in jail for serious crimes, such as murder and robbery - allegedly political," Van der Merwe told Sapa.

"Not all of them are IFP members. But the point is that in six years the department of justice has done nothing.

"Even if only five of the prisoners qualify for a pardon, then they will have languished in prison for nothing."

Dept 'incompetent'

Van der Merwe said the ministry of justice had been incompetent and arrogant in dealing with the issue.

"The gross violation of the human rights of these prisoners reflects badly on South Africa as a whole.

"Government's deliberate lack of action is clearly a violation of the spirit of our Constitution and we are therefore confident that the court will rule in our favour."

The prisoners first applied for pardons six years ago, but their applications were dismissed on "technical grounds".

The IFP then took the issue to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) which ordered former justice minister Brigitte Mabandla to finalise the applications within three months.

The IFP took Mabandla to court after she ignored the SAHRC ruling.

"Subsequently, the IFP took the matter to the High Court of South Africa who also made a ruling against Mabandla ordering her to finalise the matter within three months," Van der Merwe said.

"She ignored the ruling and applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which was granted."

Five judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal unanimously rejected Mabandla's appeal.

Mabandla then appealed to the Constitutional Court.

Complaint laid with Amnesty International

The IFP had laid a complaint against former president Thabo Mbeki and Mabandla with Amnesty International.

Van der Merwe said the IFP's lawyer had informed him that President Jacob Zuma had filed an affidavit on the case late on Monday.
"They have had six years to do something about this, but they leave it until late in the final afternoon on the day before the case.

"It is remarkably incompetent."




Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

  • Thursday Goodwood - 08:38 AM
    Road name: N7 Vanguard Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching Voortrekker Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 08:37 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Giel Basson Drive and the Marine Drive exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9780

BlackBerry 6 Engage your world with BlackBerry 6 OS on the...

From R3049.00

I'm shopping for:


Your heart is big and you are sensitive to the needs of those around you. Your humanitarian side is emphasized today and you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.