Prisoner relapses no surprise: Ndebele

2012-06-25 14:37

Cape Town - It would have been too optimistic to think that none of the 40 365 prisoners pardoned in April as part of Freedom Day celebrations would relapse, Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said on Monday.

"It would have been optimistic to think that none of the offenders would relapse into crime," Ndebele told a media briefing by government's justice, crime prevention and security cluster.

Ndebele said the decision by President Jacob Zuma to pardon the prisoners, who were serving sentences for crimes such as theft and fraud, was motivated in part by a desire to combat over-crowding of 34% in South Africa's jails.

He said it would also be idealistic to think that all prisoners had benefited from rehabilitation programmes.

Justice Minister Jeff Radebe confirmed that 71 of the prisoners had been re-arrested and convicted, but said the figure amounted to 0.18% of those released and was "very negligible".

Crime levels drop

According to figures cited by Radebe, 17 556 prisoners were actively involved in correctional programmes, out of a prison population of 167 819.

The justice minister told reporters that crime levels dropped in the first quarter of this year, while the state's conviction rate had increased.

He said serious crimes decreased by 0.5% from January to March, compared to the same period last year, while contact crimes had decreased by 1.2%.

Radebe said the courts' conviction rate on so-called trio crimes - hijacking and business and home robberies - reached 85.8% of 1 777 cases finalised.

The minister dismissed a journalist's observation that the number of cases finalised were roughly 10% of those reported, leaving most perpetrators free.

He said the courts also finalised 192 cases of organised crime and achieved an 89% conviction rate.

The Asset Forfeiture Unit froze criminal assets of more than R540m last year, while, as part of the drive against rhino poaching, the National Prosecuting Authority convicted 28 people.

Radebe said the department was making sexual crimes a priority, and the task team looking into the viability of reopening the sexual offences courts would also mull ways of ensuring these courts had greater reach.

"The task team will look into practical steps that will ensure that these courts benefit the entire population and not selected communities as was the practice in the pilot sites."

  • Ben - 2012-06-25 14:45

    Why release them then. Build more jails.

      RiD123 - 2012-06-25 14:51

      why build more jails? Kill them!

      procold2 - 2012-06-25 14:59

      death sentence

      enneths - 2012-06-25 15:08

      Kill them......why spare motherf^ckers

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-06-25 15:09

      @beefcake: I wonder if you are aware that the Legal Resources Centre, a white owned NGO, is to blame for the fact that prisoners have the right to vote? Shocked? Google boeta! They took the ANC government to court when the latter decided that prisoners were going to be excluded from voting. Having said that, I wonder who the prisoners vote for. Surely not for a party that did not want them to vote in the first place! At least I hope

      fussed.anderson - 2012-06-25 15:15

      jz should have had the balls to and only do this thing to his cronies, shaik etc and left all others in jail saving all the extra work of rearrests

      cyberdog.breath - 2012-06-25 15:28

      @themba.thwala.98 Yeah, and they are all ANC cadres, or appointed by the anc, so them taking the anc to court is only window dressing. Go figure.

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-06-25 15:42

      Cyberdog how would you know? Don't tell me. Rather let me guess: you are either a sangoma, palm reader or have you have psychic powers. Please tell me what the future has in store for me ... Lol

      themba.thwala.98 - 2012-06-25 15:49

      I assume thos whites included those who are members of the ANC, such as Rob Davies, Ben Turok, Mary Metcalfe, Jeremy Cronin, the late Jose Slovo, Johnny de Lange, Alec Erwin, Derek Hanekom, their families, and so on. That was very smart I must say :)

      Hermann - 2012-06-25 16:08

      Ben it was a vote catching exercise. I say no more.

      nmateke - 2012-06-25 16:15

      @Ben good question, answer: because its corruption cases, friends of JZ

      Sharon - 2012-06-25 17:04

      "It would have been optimistic to think that none of the offenders would relapse into crime" Small consolation for the victims who would have been unharmed if these thugs stayed where they belong.

  • Emily-Jane Elson - 2012-06-25 14:46

    Wtf they were thinking in the first place I dunno! Come on!! Build another prison or some extra blocks on already existing ones! Death penalty for murderers, solitary for rapists & attempted murder. Chain the lesser crime okes up and make them clean the country, build RDP houses and teach them to fix the toilets etc that our government cant!! ANC is a joke!

      vincent.sevenster.7 - 2012-06-25 15:12

      No offence Emily, but normally when there are builders building close-by, break-ins tend to go up. Imagine the crime rate go up in the prison!

  • njdejager - 2012-06-25 14:48

    SA likes to play "catch and release" unfortunately its now catch again until the next freedom day. How our correctional services are made to look like clowns.

  • Antipoaching - 2012-06-25 14:52

    the Minister is talking rubbish, in Grahamstown alone we have had about 90 of the approx 280 released prisoners being re-arrested and either out on bail or back behind bars.... Notice how carefully the Minister says "re=arrested AND convicted" Mr Radebe you get 3 huge types of lies in life, Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics Supplied by Politicians!!! Your figures are smoke and mirrors boet...

      Tilt777 - 2012-06-25 16:42

      Well said - I am sure the figure is far higher-biggot

  • catgirl1971 - 2012-06-25 14:53

    BS baffles brains.

  • dennis.vermaak.5 - 2012-06-25 14:54

    Been on the job for ten minutes and is already "an expert" !! ANC YOU REALLY HAVE NO IDEA !!

  • Arthur - 2012-06-25 14:56

    Does he think the public believes all those figures? Methinks they are a lot of thumb suck numbers. There is absolutely no way you'll get the correct figures from this incompetent bunch. No ways Jeff Radebe, No ways! No ways Jeff Radebe, no ways!

  • jimmy.kawa.1 - 2012-06-25 15:00

    so basically only 71 have been caught...

      tsietsi.matubako - 2012-06-25 15:14

      The DA gave a figure running into thousands last month. 71 is doubtful.

      Oom - 2012-06-25 16:08

      They make it sound as if it's OK that 0,18% are back..that’s all..but if you were one of the people that was robbed as a result of their early release, then its a big thing ...not so..?

  • Gavin - 2012-06-25 15:02

    next time JZ wants to give a gift to the nation, do something like zero rating tax on toilet rolls

  • Andre - 2012-06-25 15:07

    This ANC government has no no control. You only release prisoners that have proved to have undergone a successful rehabilitation program. You must be daft to release convicts who you have any doubts!

  • willem.botha.5623 - 2012-06-25 15:11

    The whole story is a lie. Please delete it News24.

  • Provence - 2012-06-25 15:11

    Wonderful news Mr Minister, so if the jails are overcrowded the way to solve the problem is to open the gates???? Eish, who helped you think through this one boet?

  • mel.mcbride1 - 2012-06-25 15:11

    I doubt those who were robbed, assaulted, defrauded by that 0.18% didn't feel it was "very negligible".

  • delwin.bridge - 2012-06-25 15:11

    How can you release over 40000 prisoners when there aren t enough jobs what did you expect

  • rob.baggaley - 2012-06-25 15:11

    Build more mobile scaffolds for public executions. Live on SABC 1. Manzi fo sho'

  • Provence - 2012-06-25 15:14

    yes, this is true, eish, mmm yes, eish, mmm....i don't know what now...mmm eish I think let's get another bonus. Yes, this one i know.

  • Billy - 2012-06-25 15:16

    so... what now? collateral damage? ag shame a few south afrikans will be affected by the prisoner release, but it will get us more votes in the end. foad pls put the prisoners to work, why are there no workers in orange overalls working for their bed and 3 meals a day. if they go on hunger strike let them starve! wtf man, you have more rights these days after you commit a crime!!

  • matsi.makoro - 2012-06-25 15:18

    I urge all the victim of the criminals released by Zuma to hold him acountable,he and ndebele should be held personaly liable,their actions have eroded all the efforts that seeks to make S.Africa a save place for law abiding citizens,clearly none of them thought of the danger they put the law abiding society in,but then again this as I see it was just a mere curtain to blind the public as he seeks to release his goons from prison,I wonder what he will do next..

  • Andrew - 2012-06-25 15:24

    Excuses excuses excuses as always!!!!!

  • E=MC2 - 2012-06-25 15:29

    what the hell did you think would happen!? "Very negligable" shouldnt be a term used when speaking about crime! Building more jails would create jobs wouldnt it? As would staffing the prison...? Morons, the whole lot of them!

  • rob.bayliss.94 - 2012-06-25 15:37

    I find this statement to be extremely offensiveand certainly misleading and false. Using 'relapse' to describe what happened implies that the criminals have slipped back into a former state (maybe a diseased state), which in turn states that they had first become somehow less criminal. This is not an appropriate way to describe these people, more appropriate is recidivist. This is defined as someone who is repeatedly arrested for criminal behaviour. Call a spade a spade rather than dressing these thugs up to be victims of society!

  • Ryno - 2012-06-25 15:39

    a crime is a crime is a crime - regardless of how small the % point is...chop

  • carolyn.myburgh - 2012-06-25 15:44

    If it comes as no surprise to the correctional services minister then why did he release them? I want to say I am shocked but it is nothing new from this government.

  • Bryan - 2012-06-25 15:55

    So we have an additional 40 365 criminals roaming our streets Mr Minister?? Give yourself a big pat on the back....F**king Moron!!!

  • dhavandran.palavar - 2012-06-25 16:03

    'He said it would also be idealistic to think that all prisoners had benefited from rehabilitation programmes'. you have the answer and yet you pursue a futile course.

  • tiaan.evony - 2012-06-25 16:05

    how can 0.18% be negligible,crime is crime and why FREE the cr@p

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-06-25 16:07


  • nmateke - 2012-06-25 16:22

    News24 should have reported this proper, without creating a controversial debate on this 71 prisoners, as reported early wks back.. 0.18% people all we lost out texts 4, after Thousands families where suffering for their people in jail.

  • rvbrink - 2012-06-25 16:26

    Just fly them 100km's out to sea, make them jump without parachutes. This way they will feed the fish which we can catch later on and eat.

  • Cassandra Eileen Olivier - 2012-06-25 16:33

    I am sure the crime states they realize every year is a lie, I am sure that it is much higher

  • Logan Porter - 2012-06-25 16:45

    18% convicted again after being pardoned is not bad? It's not even 2 months later, hallooooo! Bring back the death penalty and there will be more regard and respect for others lives.

  • victor.mendes1 - 2012-06-25 16:46

    So ex-minister of E-toll abuse and arrogance, what you are actually saying is ooohhhh lets release 40 365 convicted criminals back into public while you and your rubbish ANC govt know full well that they are likely to commit crimes???? Is this where my tax money is going to???????

  • teresita.cuniberticillie - 2012-06-25 16:50

    Everybody should have second chance. Just remember these jailbirds is someones daddy or son

      Eleanor Leroux - 2012-06-25 17:20

      Teresita, i doubt you would say that if somebody's daddy or son hurt somebody you loved.

      Anthea - 2012-06-25 17:37

      Everybody is someone's mother/father/brother/sister/son/daughter. Everybody has the right to live without fear. Letting criminals loose on the street willy nilly into an economy that can't sustain them is just foolish.

  • Robert - 2012-06-25 16:53

    In Oudtshoorn a local was found guilty of peddling tik, sentenced to 12 full years in jail in February 2012 and released in April 2012 after serving barely "60 days"! - So much for the government's fight against drugs

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2012-06-25 17:11

    Relapse? So being a criminal is an addiction . . .

  • vernon.samuel.7 - 2012-06-25 17:40

    And another official pats himself on the back for a job well done. Really, the citizens of this country bicker for nothing. All is hunky dory in our country. The Limpopo premier merely has challenges in the governing of his province. He did not need the national government to come in and bail out the province really; it was all under control. The Gauteng premier is happy that she has fulfilled her mandate and all is rosy in her province. The minister of education is still basking in the huge numbers of matriculants that managed to crack 33 percent in their finals. And now the minister of correctional services spews out very flattering statistics indeed. Let us not bother ourselves with the other relatively minor issues that rank SA as one of the least desirable countries in which to live, shall we?

  • zain.halle - 2012-06-25 19:45

    Funny that they can report crime down by 0,5% and that was something to be proud of and yet the 0.18% was negligble. Theft and fraud particularly considerd white collar crimes and yet we are seeing massive amount of corruption being excused with no legal ramifications at all. The message we are teaching people is that it is ok to steal from your work. The money is gone and the poor people are suffering more. Not for one minute do they stop to think that they are literally killing thousands of people by taking their education, food, medical and basic necessaties like water by not being able to pay service providers because they have stolen the money. I hope that one day people will realise before too late that you cant get something back when it is gone......

  • Mike Peach Purchase - 2012-06-25 19:51

    And you seem to forget that the victims of crime are also mommy,s and daddy,s.

  • fanie.smit.5 - 2012-06-25 19:54


  • louis.kempen.5 - 2012-06-26 08:14

    Why state the obvious Mr Ndebele? This will not make uou smart. You may impress your voters with obvious statements, but you can not BS the country. If you really want to sound and be smart.... Rather say.....I am sorry that the ANC has wasted your Tax money to let the police arrest the same person twice where they could have prevented crime elsewhere.

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