KZN jails given priority for special presidential pardons

2008-02-28 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL will get priority in a special presidential pardoning process for inmates who committed politically motivated crimes.

This was announced at a media briefing at Durban’s Westville Prison attended by the African National Congress (ANC), Inkatha Freedom Party and (IFP) United Democratic Movement.

The regional commissioner of the department of Correctional Services, Nkosinathi Nhleko, said the pardoning process began in Pietermaritzburg because of its relatively high proportion of political prisoners. The next round is at Westville where there is also a large concentration of political prisoners.

Nhleko said a committee is visiting prisoners around the province to address convicts linked to political struggles. “We are visiting these centres where we think have a high concentration of inmates who qualify in terms of the stated guidelines,” he said.

The department will provide work space for officials helping prisoners with their applications and arrange visits for political parties.

According to the guidelines, prisoners who committed crimes before 16 June 1999 and who think that their crimes were politically motivated can apply for the presidential pardon.

Prisoners who applied unsuccessfully for amnesty from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee cannot apply for the pardon. Convicted rapists and inmates charged under the Domestic Violence Act and the Drug Trafficking Act will also not qualify for pardons.

Nhleko said the first phase of explaining the pardoning process to prisoners will conclude in Empangeni tomorrow. The application process will be completed by 15 April.

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