Apartheid victims must be heard before presidential pardons

2010-02-23 12:58

VICTIMS of apartheid-era atrocities are entitled to make

representations before the president grants pardon to perpetrators, the

country’s highest court ruled today.

In a unanimous decision, Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo said “victims

must be given the opportunity to be heard in order to determine the facts on

which pardons are based, namely, whether the offence was committed with a

political motive”.

AWB activist Ryan Albutt applied for a pardon under the special

dispensation process initiated by former President Thabo Mbeki in November


Albutt participated in a 1995 attack in Kuruman, Northern Cape, in

which one person died and 200 were hurt.

Mbeki established the Pardons Reference Group (PRG), which

considered more than 2?000 applications for pardons and the group made

recommendations to him.

The PRG was established to deal with pardon applications from those

convicted for offences they claim were politically motivated, but did not

participate in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The president and the justice and constitutional development

minister supported Albutt’s applications during a high-court bid, insisting that

victims of apartheid-era offences for which the pardon was sought were not

entitled to make representations before a decision to grant the pardon is


In April, the North Gauteng High Court granted an interdict

preventing Mbeki’s successor, then President Kgalema Motlanthe, from pardoning

121 inmates and others recommended by the PRG.

A group of non-governmental organisations was granted the interdict

against the issuing of pardons under the special dispensation.

Albutt brought his failed Constitutional Court application against

the NGOs as well as the president and the justice and constitutional development


During the hearing in November, Geoff Budlender accused Albutt of

not caring about the plight of the victims.

Budlender was acting on behalf of seven of the 15 respondents,

including the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, the Khulumani

Support Group and the Freedom of Expression Institute.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com 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

Traffic Alerts
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 24.com 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.