Jailed prison boss among 149 applicants for presidential pardon

2015-09-15 20:06
(Amanda Khoza, News24)

(Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban - Jailed controversial former Pietermaritzburg prison boss, Russel Ngubo, is part of 149 prisoners who have been recommended for presidential political pardon.

This was revealed by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha on Tuesday, while addressing the media at the Durban Westville Correctional Service centre.

Masutha had earlier met with a group of offenders who had applied for the presidential political pardon.

The minister confirmed that, Ngubo, who was spotted walking out of the Westville Management Area speaking to warders, was part of the group he met.

He said while Ngubo was recommended for pardon, he did not qualify.

"He has not served his minimum detention period to qualify for consideration for parole. The minister is only considering offenders who are serving life sentences," explained Thando Tsetswa, Masutha’s special advisor.

Ngubo, a former Stoffelton ANC branch chairperson, is currently serving a 25 year jail sentence for the murder of two IFP members in KwaZulu-Natal in 1995.

Ngubo, who started serving his sentence in 2005, will only be eligible for parole on October 21 2017. In March 2013 it was reported that Ngubo was being given special treatment in prison.

The Mail & Guardian reported that Ngubo had among other things access to a TV in his cell and was allowed to go to the bank in civilian clothes.

He is currently serving his sentence at Serfontein in Pietermaritzburg.

Administrative issues

Speaking about the parole process, Masutha said he often found himself declining applications because of administrative issues.

Masutha only considers applications of offenders serving life sentences, which makes up 10% of the parole applications countrywide.

"It does not give me peace of mind or joy that an inmate should stay a day longer than they should because of certain administrative inefficiencies."

He explained that the presidential pardons, in terms of a special dispensation, were initiated by former president Thabo Mbeki in 2007.

The process was designed to deal with matters that were not dealt with by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process.

He said his department has been faced with delays in finalising the process.

"The delays have resulted in some of these offenders still being in our facilities… I have had several meetings with the president since last year and he gave me the go ahead to proceed with the process…

"I met with the legal teams representing the stakeholders two weeks ago where they indicated that they intended to oppose the envisaged presidential pardon.

"We are still engaging with them so that we can finalise this process, which is still pending."

Special task team

Masutha said a special task team led by Tsetswa has been able to fast track the processing of the applications.

"Initially the department received more than 2 000 applications for presidential pardon countrywide. That number was scaled down to 149.

"Of that 149, when I took office there were 51 left because some were already released and others had completed their terms."

Masutha said he was currently considering 33 applications.

"Of the 33 files, 20 are from KZN. I am going to be going through each of the files and if I am satisfied that the recommendations made are in order, I will then sign the approval which will pave the way for them to be put on parole," said Masutha.

KZN Current Active Offenders

Read more on:    michael masutha  |  crime

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