New pardons law proposed

2010-01-13 19:10

kalahari.com

  • The Da Vinci Method
    Break Out & Express Your Fire. Discover and master the fiery temperament shared by great leaders. Now R311.00
    buy now
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance on Wednesday called for a new law to guide the president on granting pardons that would make it easier to challenge his decisions in court.

Admitting the move had been precipitated by Schabir Shaik's bid to have his name cleared, DA MP James Selfe said it was currently not clear whether a presidential pardon could be taken to court for review.

He said the party would hand the Speaker a private member's bill - based on currently non-binding guidelines - that would force the president to consult the ministry of justice before making a decision.

The bill also stipulates that the president must consult with the victims of the crime before considering pardoning the perpetrator.

Selfe denied the bill sought to limit a constitutional power held by the president, saying it would simply help him make a "rational decision" and avoid accusations of abuse of power.

Constitutional trouble

"The president should not wake up one morning and decide to grant a pardon because his breakfast cereal told him to do so," he told a media briefing.

He argued that the post-apartheid Constitution did not confer an unfettered power on the president, unlike its earlier version which did and derived from the divine right of English kings to pardon perpetrators.

But constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos told Sapa he believed if the bill were passed, "it may run into constitutional trouble".

De Vos said while he agreed with the DA that the right to pardon was not unfettered, the Constitutional Court had made it clear in the Hugo case - where a decision by former president Nelson Mandela was unsuccessfully challenged by a prisoner - that it is a prerogative power, limited only by the stipulation that it should be exercised in good faith.

"If for example you were paid a bribe to pardon someone, that would be a bad faith pardon," he said.

Can already challenge pardons

De Vos said that case, as well as two others on which the court has yet to pronounce, proved it was already possible to challenge a presidential pardon.

The DA unveiled the bill two days after President Jacob Zuma caused a stir by denying knowledge of Shaik's request for a presidential pardon, which was submitted in 2008.

Selfe accused the presidency of subsequently "patronising" South Africans by suggesting the public should not concern itself with something that is clearly a matter of presidential prerogative.

"The granting of pardons ought to be exercised sparingly, in exceptional circumstances and to correct an incorrect or excessive sentence," he said.
He went on to warn that the lack of legally binding guidelines created the danger "that a pardon could be abused in order to pardon political allies, or act in ways contrary to the interests of the public".

De Kock denied amnesty

The presidency has confirmed that Zuma met Eugene de Kock, who has served 14 years of a 212-year-sentence for apartheid era atrocities, prompting speculation that he is considering pardoning the former Vlakplaas commander, nicknamed "Prime Evil", as a political trade-off for a reprieve for Shaik.

Shaik was controversially granted medical parole last year after serving two years and four months of a 15-year jail term for fraud and corruption, relating in part to an alleged bribe he arranged between Zuma and a French arms dealer.

Selfe said the DA not only opposed pardoning Shaik, but also De Kock. He said it should be remembered the latter was denied amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the crimes that put him in jail.

"Maybe one day when De Kock has served 28 years of his sentence and things are different," Selfe said.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya has brushed off criticism of Zuma's denial by saying the president did not have the details of some 300 pardon applications awaiting his attention.
 

- SAPA

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  schabir shaik  |  jacob zuma  |  eugene de kock  |  james selfe  |  pardons
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/Movies
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Wednesday Kuils River - 13:30 PM
    Road name: Nooiensfontein Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Van Riebeeck Avenue
  • Wednesday Milnerton - 13:26 PM
    Road name: Koeberg Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Racecourse Road - expect delays
 
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!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. 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!

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 Lumia 800

The stunningly social Nokia Lumia 800 features head-turning design, ...

From R2775.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It is always easier to look out and see what needs changing. Looking in is a lot harder... Today you may need to look at what...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.