Freed prisoners well prepared - official

2012-07-06 20:00

Pretoria - Prisoners released under a special remission have been sufficiently rehabilitated to begin crime-free lives, prison authorities said on Friday.

Correctional Services Deputy Minister Ngoako Ramathlodi said the pardoned inmates undertook credible rehabilitation and pre-release programmes to help them cope outside jail.

"Amid fears expressed on the competence of our rehabilitation, correctional, and pre-release programmes, we are satisfied that the administration of the remission was a success," he said.

"All offenders who benefited were exposed to a pre-release programme to prepare them for their re-integration back into society," said Ramathlodi.

The release of prisoners began three days after President Jacob Zuma announced a special remission of sentences at a Freedom Day rally on 27 April.

A total of 43 789 offenders qualified for early release from the country's 241 prisons and systems of community correction.

Society participation

Ramathlodi said all government efforts to rehabilitate offenders would be in vain without the active participation of society.

"It calls for government and communities to join hands in finding ways to help those who have been released to become law-abiding and valuable citizens," he said.

The last batch, constituting 2% of the total parolees, was released from different correctional facilities across the country on Friday.

On the day of his release, Mthuthuzeli Gontshi said he had attained numerous qualifications since he was sentenced to 14 years in 2005.

"Throughout my incarceration I attended different programmes. I did my matric here in prison, now I am in my final year of a B.Comm Law [Bachelor of Commerce degree with specialisation in law] degree," said Gontshi.

"Since 2005 I have attended HIV related programmes, psychological, and sexual orientation programmes. Throughout my incarceration I have learnt a lot," he said.

Gontshi has been in custody since he was arrested in 2003 for hijacking a car.

"I hijacked a woman in 2003, it was on a Sunday, 2 March," he said apologetically.


By 29 June, 90 of the released prisoners had been re-arrested, and of these, 20 had been sentenced. The longest term imposed was three years.

Of the remaining 70, two paid bail, one committed suicide, and 49 were being held awaiting trial. Another 18 had not returned to prison from the courts.

In announcing the special remission of sentences, Zuma said it was in keeping with the spirit of the celebration of the country's 18 years of freedom and in line with international practice.

He said there would be a six months blanket special remission of sentence for all sentenced offenders, probationers, and parolees.

There was a remission of sentences when former president Nelson Mandela was inaugurated on 10 May 1994; on the first Freedom Day on 27 April 1995; on Mandela's 80th birthday on 18 July 1998; and to mark the first year of former president Thabo Mbeki's second term in office on 30 May 2005.

  • jeffrey.jones.357 - 2012-07-06 21:11

    ""Throughout my incarceration I attended different programmes. I did my matric here in prison, now I am in my final year of a B.Comm Law [Bachelor of Commerce degree with specialisation in law] degree," said Gontshi." Just what you need to get involved in company fraud, you'll be a great asset to the ANC.

      raymond.abrahamse - 2012-07-06 21:26

      Yea,you're right mate,it probably will happen.

      wesley.nel.5 - 2012-07-06 21:38

      This is all part of practical training to become memeber of natinal executive commitee of ANC

  • jeffrey.jones.357 - 2012-07-06 21:14

    Please all you matric students in school, don't complain if you are not accepted at a university. Go out there and hijack a car, get arrested, and you'll get free board and lodging, and you can study for a degree, and that also won't cost you a cent. Isn't South Africa a wonderful country (for criminals).

  • mark.schulz.796 - 2012-07-07 00:41

    Well prepared to continue from where they left off, the official means. After their stay in prison, I'm sure they have a bunch of new 'business contacts' and 'great ideas' to resume their criminal activities.

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-07-07 01:37

    "Freed prisoners well prepared - official" Why does that conjure up a frightening vision of them being handed an AK on the way out the door?

  • khoza.mthokozisi - 2012-07-07 07:02

    He he he prisoners well prepared, this is another joke. The only thing they understand is crime and that's what they are going to do, besides that, prisons are the only places where these guys get to sleep on a proper meal and feel much respected for whatever crimes they've committed.

  • khoza.mthokozisi - 2012-07-07 07:05

    he he he be my guest Mr when we look at crime statistics next year!...crime is going to increase by 40%

  • Noedig Greene - 2012-07-07 10:29


  • willie.dique - 2012-07-07 11:00

    What a load of rubbish.....I'd like the stats on the ones thats back in jail after this!!!!

  • ruben.maistry - 2012-07-07 18:45

    The government LIED to the taxpayer that they are fighting CRIME. This act actually PROMOTES crime, knowing that come Freedom Day you will be released.

  • msturmair - 2012-08-19 11:24

    anc has hidden agendas by releasing criminals......this type of action from government says its ok to committ a crime.......anc = fat cats = greed/racism/crime = CRIME RULES....

  • KennySven - 2012-08-19 13:06

    Stop pushing your news24 apps,I don't wan't it,ENOUGH NOW

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