Medical parole policy to go to Parliament

2010-10-28 17:36

Cape Town - A proposed new policy on medical parole for prisoners is set to come before Parliament, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Thursday.

Briefing the media on the correctional matters amendment bill, approved this week by Cabinet, she said existing legislation, which referred to parole being granted to "terminally ill" inmates, had created enormous problems for her department.

"The assumption is that the person (granted medical parole) is likely to die. That has created challenges in that some of them... they recover, and the public find it difficult that we use the term 'terminally ill'," she said.

The new policy would change the definition and requirements of offenders who qualified to be placed on medical parole.

"Section 79 of the Correctional Services Act... which referred to offenders 'diagnosed as being in the final phase of any terminal diseases or condition' as a requirement for placement on medical parole will, in terms of this bill, be repealed."

New policy

The proposed new policy stated that a sentenced offender could be considered for placement on medical parole if:

- such offender is suffering from a terminal disease or condition or if such an offender is rendered physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness so as to severely limit daily activity or inmate self care;

- the risk of re-offending is low;

- there are appropriate arrangements for the inmate's supervision, care and treatment within the community.

The bill also provided for the manner in which a medical parole application should be lodged.

Mapisa-Nqakula said there were "quite high numbers" of prisoners in correctional services facilities who could not do things for themselves.

"This new medical parole policy should provide not only for people who, it is assumed, are likely to die in the next couple of days, but should actually provide for... inmates who are in very serious conditions of illness, who are totally incapacitated, can not do things for themselves, and therefore have become a... financial burden on the department.

"So it shouldn't be about releasing a person to die in the comfortable and warm surroundings and love of the family necessarily, but it should be to release a person for... compassionate reasons, and for the person to recover outside, if the person should ever recover.

"That is the essence of what we are trying to do with this new medical (parole) policy," she said.

Among recommendations her department was making was that every inmate who applied for medical parole should be examined by an independent panel of doctors.

"This is to make sure there are no erroneous releases of people from our facilities."

Good news for parolees

The minister also ruled out the re-incarceration of those, released on medical parole, who went on to make a full recovery.

"It is not our intention to release a person on medical parole grounds and incarcerate that person later when we realise that person has recovered," she said.

This is no doubt good news for medical parolees such as convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik, who was controversially released from prison in March last year because he was suffering from a "terminal illness".

He had served two years and four months of a 15-year sentence. Nineteen months since his release, numerous media reports indicate he appears to be enjoying fair health.

Mapisa-Nqakula warned that medical parolees caught violating their parole condition could end up back inside.

"You may be released on medical grounds, but if you violate the parole condition... this means you have to go back. But you can't take back a person because they have recovered," she said.

She said the bill would now go to Parliament and the public would have opportunity to "engage" on it.


Read more on:    schabir shaik  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  prisons

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! 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

Nokia N9

The Nokia N9 has a beautiful one-piece, unibody design where...

From R2899.85

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. 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.