Special remissions project 'not perfect'

2012-09-13 22:24
Women's representation in local government decreased after the 2011 elections, President Jacob Zuma says. (File, Beeld)

Women's representation in local government decreased after the 2011 elections, President Jacob Zuma says. (File, Beeld)

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Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday stopped short of apologising for crimes committed by convicted criminals who were released as part of the special remission of sentence process.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly, Zuma said the screening system for the 45 033 offenders released this year was not flawless.

It was impossible to tell whether prisoners would re-offend.

"If you have those who were released who did a wrong thing, of course we accept that this is a wrong thing that they've done, and we sympathise with the families who were indeed the victims of this," said Zuma.

Zuma defended himself against opposition party criticism for signing off on the parole of offenders.

"The president did not do anything out of the framework of the law and the Constitution. Special remission is a normal thing, universally."

He was reacting to DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, who cited various crimes committed by some of those released.

"Earlier this year, it was reported that a 94-year old KwaZulu-Natal woman was attacked and raped by a paroled prisoner who had been released in terms of the special remission programme," she told Zuma.

Congress of the People MP Paul Mnguni followed on the statement.

"I want to ask that can you in front of that old granny who was raped, can you say you are proud of this prisoner who has become a rapist. Can you safely say that?" Mnguni asked.

Zuma's response was brief: "No, I will never say that in front of that granny, I will sympathise with her."

Preliminary statistics provided by the correctional services department show that at least 114 of those released under the programme are back in jail.

Zuma said he expected an update from correctional services minister Sibusisu Ndebele in October.

- SAPA
Read more on:    cope  |  da  |  lindiwe mazibuko  |  jacob zuma  |  politics  |  prisons
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