35 000 offenders could be released

2012-04-28 14:33

Johannesburg - More than 35 000 offenders could be released, depending on an assessment, after President Jacob Zuma announced a special remission of sentence, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Saturday.

"The special remission...will see all sentenced inmates, probationers and parolees granted a six month remission of sentence...and an additional 12 months," he told a media briefing in Pretoria.

"This will reduce the level of overcrowding in correctional centres from 34% to approximately 20%."

It was estimated that about 20 855 probationers and parolees, and 14 651 sentenced inmates would be released "conditionally or unconditionally" in terms of an assessment process.

"The completion of a compulsory pre-release assessment and the attendance of...the programme is a prerequisite before the conditional or unconditional release of offenders can take place," explained Mthethwa.

Non-discriminatory process

Offenders who qualify can only be released from May 14 this year in "controllable groups".

Zuma announced on Friday that his administration would grant a special remission of sentence to specific categories of sentenced offenders, probationers and parolees.

In South Africa the granting of special remissions is governed by placing safety first and promoting shared responsibility for the correction of offending behaviour and rehabilitation, Mthethwa said.

He said Zuma had ensured that the process would be a fair non-discriminatory and transparent one where certain categories of prisoners would be excluded from aspects of the proposed remission.

"Such exclusion is justified on the basis [of[ public interest and concern and the prevalence of serious offences, the integrity of the criminal justice system and the administration of justice," said Mthethwa.

Those sentenced for aggressive, sexual, firearm and drug related offences would not qualify for the special remission.

"Remission will exclude all escapees and absconders who are still at large," said the police minister.

  • Gregory - 2012-04-28 14:39

    Just what we need 35000 unemployed. Criminals roaming the streets. Nice one Jacob. What's next on ur agenda??? You going to legalize rape.

      Sedick - 2012-04-28 15:52

      35 000 more ANC card carriers.....they are getting desperate, or just birds of a feather?

      Sedick - 2012-04-28 15:57

      Zuma helping his friends........

      mollie.kruger - 2012-04-28 16:05

      Get the legal people to get an interdict against this. It stopped the Gauteng Tolls, the PEOPLE can stop this too!!!

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-28 16:43

      Will the ANC take responsibility/or be held liable when these prisoners commit new crimes? Can we then sue the ANC regime for incompetence?

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-28 17:33

      I wonder if this includes the release of Clive Derby-Lewis ?????

      Smell - 2012-04-28 18:04

      This is a cop-out. The progressive way of fixing the problem is to govern so well (sound economic policies; secured borders), that the socio-economic drivers of crime gradually diminishes. But that is obviously not happening here. If the problem really is that the legal system is overenthusiastic in jailing offenders, then fix the laws. If the problem is with insufficient jail capacity, then fix that. However, even this simple approach may be too much of a challenge for a governing party that seems unable even to differentiate between simple concepts like "suspension" and "expulsion" (partly explaining the comically inept process that has been dealing with Malema's transgressions). In a country with crime stats like ours, it is plainly absurd to prematurely release convicted offenders back into circulation, to further brutalize our already reeling civilian population.

      Gestoffle - 2012-04-28 20:49

      @News24, you guys are going to have to get loads more staff in to cover the 35000 crime stories each day going forward. Did you budget for this? Dont worry, nor did the insurance companies...... Spank you zoo-mama, spank you very much, I see my insurance premiums increasing.....

  • Sharon - 2012-04-28 14:39

    35 000 ???????????????? Bloody hell, lock up your valuables - things could get rough! Can JZ organise jobs for this lot on top of releasing them? Message to correctional services: Do NOT release the birthday rapist again!

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-04-28 14:40

    Don't want to fork out money for prisons? Don't want to bring back the death penalty? Don't want to provide for your people so they don't have to resort to crime? Release the offenders, that ought to help us.

  • Partiboy - 2012-04-28 14:47

    Use the R20 billion that was supposed to be used on the eeeeee-tolls and develop more prisons to accomodate these criminals. Nuff said.

  • Wesley - 2012-04-28 14:49

    Criteria is as follows. Everybody with the surname Zuma, anybody with the name starts with J and have the surname Selebi

      alansmartSnr - 2012-04-28 16:10

      Me thinks this is a political ploy to gain more votes for coming electioins. I see a dark moon rising, I see trouble ahead. Perhaps we should use the e-toll success to show once again that we wont allow madness to be thrust on us. Just a thought. I would support this (maybe) if corruption was also included the category of exceptions for qualifying for this special remission.. but then again, half of the government would be disqualified. Oops, I forgot..Prisoners are allowed to vote..Why not build more prisons? Oh! we didn't budget for them, Why not? Ooh um um.. we need people like them to keep the SAPD busy, Its what we call job creation.. even if the jobs involve corruption, theft, ect, You know what I mean. Go back to the 1980's where prisoners were kept busy on state owned farms to produce their own food and got a small but important wage to pay for their toiletries and cigs or tobacco. But it seems the circus just carries on. I see Zuma eventually going the same way as Mal Emmer.. It might take a while.. but funnier things have already happened. BTW..Thanks to all that took a stand against e-toll and to those idiots and "traitors" who bought e-tags..Up yours and see how you are going to get your money back.. This thought to me is lekkerder as seks!

  • Michelle - 2012-04-28 14:49

    First to be pardoned: Shabir Shaik

  • mary.kircher - 2012-04-28 14:50

    shakes head in disbielief !

  • George - 2012-04-28 14:52

    Every vote is supposed to count so 35,000 extra votes won't harm.Nice one.

  • Nkululeko - 2012-04-28 14:53

    I would strongly recommend that you release the ones that have spent time studying while serving their sentences, not just anyone.

      michelle.kirsten - 2012-04-28 16:14

      Yes that would at least be more sensible. Shame but what about those who are in the middle of studies and may not be able to continue on the outside

  • Will - 2012-04-28 14:56

    Great! Just bloody great! No wonder the morale of the SAPS is the way it is - I also woulnd go out of my way to catch criminals if they are just gonna be released somewhere down the line! The move will also add 35000 social grant payouts ....\r\n\r\nSmart move JZ!\r\n\r\nF**k I feel safe now !

  • Barefoot - 2012-04-28 14:58

    So it's like their sentences are reduced by at most 1year 6months?

  • FinalJustice - 2012-04-28 15:06

    You go JZ. Clearly states the governing party's renewed commitment in the fight against crime, this God forsaken country of ours! Not that I'm a fan of their's in any way, but it makes 1 think precisely what it was that the previous regime was trying to protect us against all along.

  • Shirley - 2012-04-28 15:07

    Realy-like crime isnt bad enough. Now another 35000 more people to rob,rape,steal,assault us??? What the hell is this guy sniffing? Making room in prisons just so that they can be refilled by the same bunch plus their friends! Safety first my @$$,they cant protect us now and struggle to keep this perps in jail as it is,without some cop letting them go for a quick buck! Definately no thought process applied to this decision-same as all the others government so "kindly" make for all of us!

  • Dennis - 2012-04-28 15:09

    Criminals setting criminals free !!! What next jacob - two more wives ??

      sandy.langenstrass - 2012-04-28 19:51

      Yes you right..Zuma doesn't see any criminality in these low life individuals, with the amount of corruption he has been involved with himself....if tried for it Zuma might well be put away for longer than these freed prisoners.....Zuma needs to watch out and note how some African Presidents are being made accountable for their corruption and crimes.

  • SM1012 - 2012-04-28 15:10

    This is absurd...I sometimes wonder what's next on JZ agenda...the next thing you will hear that the Prisoners will be entitled for special grant..for heaven sake, thus JZ Leadership have anything that will mak us NOT to wonder or worry?...This PARDON to Prisoner maybe is one of his strategy to Mangaung Conference..for what?...only heaven knows.

  • Buti - 2012-04-28 15:15

    Zuma, Zuma, Zuma we know that you belong to the company of felony. Now you want your high profile criminals to come out and enjoy your dirty freedom with you. Let's see who will receive this parole.

  • Ian - 2012-04-28 15:16

    nice one JZ , is this your plan in getting the minority vote back

  • Zahir - 2012-04-28 15:22

    Our justice system was already a joke to begin with crminals having all rights what is the point of a court if zooma overides a court decision ?

      kensong.ben - 2012-04-28 16:26

      Was the ruling on a e-toll today a joke ? Itz the same judiciary remember,,,

  • Kevin - 2012-04-28 15:26

    so until 2014 election, the incompetent president will release more of the like minded criminals and guarantee himself more votes

  • ErikMagnetoMaier - 2012-04-28 15:27

    ah come on man, are u serious??? Just as Malema starts getting what he deserves, Zuma does something like this. So we actually manage catching a few of the criminals that f*ck up this country, and now we're going to release them again because our prisons are overcrowded?

  • Norman - 2012-04-28 15:28

    You'll release 35000 convicts in a country terrorised by crime but you couldn't fight for a child of Africa who got excecuted by the Chinese. ONE example from a career of FAILS! You're a presidential disgrace Zuma!!!!

  • Zahir - 2012-04-28 15:29

    JZ could not bother if all criminals were released he is protected by dozens of trained armed guards he is going to sit back and say crime is not an issue and get another wife

  • christian.helberg - 2012-04-28 15:35

    It is a total disgrace. Election time is coming up and i guess they need all the thugs they can get. Another thing that is shocking is that prisoners can vote, if you have been convicted of a crime, and incarcerated, you should not have the right to vote

      kensong.ben - 2012-04-28 15:58

      Sadly , there is no altruism in politic, even more so when confine to the african context...

  • Kerri- - 2012-04-28 15:35

    Before you go off on a tangent maybe you should understand how it works. White collar crimes get 18months off their sentence, more violent ones 8 months. But there's far more involved. there are people in prison who are there for many reasons we don't only throw thieves, rapists and murders in prison. Holy cow anything to just complain about the government and country but I bet not one of you would actually get off your bums to make changes in this country. Real ones by donating your time to those who need it to change the circle of poverty. Nope you'll just sit there and moan.

      kensong.ben - 2012-04-28 15:44

      Please put that to face of those high is a never end process ...thx for highlighting that...

      Ferdie Van Der Merwe - 2012-04-28 16:00

      What planet do you live on?! You seem just as stupid as the government. Get a bloody grip and see what's going on!

      Kerri- - 2012-04-28 18:05

      How do you think people become criminals? Through poverty, no education and bad social surroundings. We have so many because its all they know. So instead of as usual treating the symptom. We need to treat the cause... I live in reality, one where we looks for solutions not just sit on the internet and complain about how bad the country is. I do far more than throw money at things and expect them the change. I have dedicated my life to actually doing good. What do you do? You judge from behind your screen. When you've actually been out there and tried something physical then we can talk.

      Chantal - 2012-04-28 18:09

      I think u really need to get urself checked out, people are trying to do things.u might just be blinded to seeing it. That's why people march, n look in the newspapers u will find many interesting stories there of people trying to do things. The truth is even if u try the government stops u.

      Rob - 2012-04-30 17:03

      Have you any idea what percentage of 'released' criminals 're-offend'? They will not have jobs to go to and will return to crime, whatever (white collar or not)their crimes were. Lets say 20% - you work it out for yourself. What is 20% of 35,000? Certainly more than our 'under-equipped' Police Force can deal with. I know - I was a Policemen for fifteen years....

  • Andriette - 2012-04-28 15:42

    Maybe they should ask why there is so many criminals in the first place and focus on the root cause of the problem. How many of these prisoners are actually rehabilitated and how many will be back to a life of crime?

  • gail.joyce2 - 2012-04-28 15:42

    What a bloody moron.

  • Sylvia - 2012-04-28 15:46

    I'm sure Selebi's health will improve by the day, after hearing this news.

  • Shepherd Kgakala - 2012-04-28 15:49

    Does this guy even care about the victims?

      Wally Walters - 2012-04-28 17:06

      35000 did I read it correcty ? Its a shame on you JZ . All that hours working day and night risking our lives to arrest these convict some of our officer was killed in line of duty You letting them out on a free pass I am absolutely disgusted this is the cause of slack service by police We put them in jail you let them out . what a country the land of milk and honey

  • Press - 2012-04-28 15:52

    Yes - and tell us how much of our tax money has it cost us citizens to put these criminals who have abused us behind the bars in the first place.

  • Cameron - 2012-04-28 15:58

    stunned!!! Speechless!! :0

  • Ferdie Van Der Merwe - 2012-04-28 16:03

    Where is this country going? Criminals have all the perks and rights. Bloody ridiculous

      Ferdie Van Der Merwe - 2012-04-28 16:52

      People like me also lose friends and family due to an incompetent freakin government! So give me a call then I will give you a reality check

  • tony.kirby1 - 2012-04-28 16:14

    So we will have an extra 35,000 fraudsters and blue collar criminals out on the streets. Just to be a good citizen I wonder how many of those 35,000 are blacks,asia,coloured and whites. Then how many ANC members and how many DA an others

  • Kobus - 2012-04-28 16:19

    This is utter BULL , ive never met such a incompetent president in my life apart from the one in the zim region !! this guy needs to leave the presdency to people who know how to run a country !!! completely absurd !! lets use the e toll success - small correction - lets use DEMOCRACY, THE ONE THING WE HAVE LEFT TO PROVE WE WANT A BETTER LIVING COUNTRY, WITHOUT PEOPLE WHO ROB US BLATANTLY ON TAXES FOR EVERY SINGLE THING APART FROM A FART !!! (hold on .... they might start taxing that too for foul air or green house gases :P )

  • Danny - 2012-04-28 16:23

    And I thought that "catch and relase" was only for fishing.... This is simply INSANE. the justice system and our USELESS SAPS are struggling to convict and lock up whatever few criminals get caught, now you want to release those that are in jail?? With all due respect, they were put there for a reason. it was obviously deemed that they ar a danger to society (and that includes fraudsters, who may not be classified as violent) and as a deterrent to others. releaseing criminals is simply insane and against the best interest of the public.

      Wally Walters - 2012-04-28 17:20

      A criminal is criminal there is no good criminals they all the same and must be treated as criminals and do the time they were sentenced for no free passes JZ

  • gavin.simpson.0 - 2012-04-28 16:29

    Zuma better be the one charged when these criminals do it again... which we all know they will.

  • SA - 2012-04-28 16:33

    Is that to make more space for all the corrupt government official that are planning to thieve R30 billon of the Tax payers this year.

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-04-28 16:41

    OMG, the victims and their families are not happy with this news before election. More crimes will follow and hopefully God will intervene, what about the rape victims? God have mercy, the Trauma starts all over again.

  • Gugulethu - 2012-04-28 16:42

    for a country with such a high-crime rate this is preposterous! instead of building new prisons due to over-crowding, we release monsters and law offenders #flabbergasted

  • Stacey - 2012-04-28 16:45

    What did you expect. Somehow they need to justify why shaik, selebi and yes even Zuma himself are free. Yet a sick man who just wants help to live a quality life is shot dead.

  • JohnnoBfree - 2012-04-28 17:15

    Imagine how demoralizing this is for the SAPS all those wasted hours of hunting them down in the first place. Ineptocracy!

  • Chantal - 2012-04-28 17:57

    Why don't he keep them at his house that he build with all our f... money. He can't control himself n his hormones by getting married and having so many children, how did the people of this country think he could lead our country. This is a F disaster waiting to happen, or did it happen already.\r\nWe have people out there that are suffering and he is just spending and spending on himself n his family. WTF. Even the white man made sure his people had everything, while da black man is only worried about himself. He should wake up n smell the coffee. Most of his people are still suffering, and he makes it worse, n now he want prisoners to come out because of the prison being overcrowded. F I have no words.

  • WhiteNut - 2012-04-28 18:11

    This sends a bad message to criminals...carry on committing crime, the prisons are full, no space for you! or could it be that the Prez wants to release someone?

  • WhiteNut - 2012-04-28 18:28

    These prisoners have criminal records, so they will not be employable, by most companies including government. Zuma releases them to be self employed in crime again, its a vicious cycle. This decision is reckless

  • Mike Purchase - 2012-04-28 18:44

    Mob justice is on the increase,let one of them touch my family i will take a good few down.

  • jmasha3 - 2012-04-28 21:06

    This is bad news for the victims and communities, not a good decision considering the high crime rate and unemployment.Are those bandits rehablitated and skilled to make a positive contribution?Is there any programme to monitor their intergration into the communities?\OVERCROWDING\!that's obvious the population is increasing as much as we need more schools,hospitals,e.t.c we must also build prisons,introduce death penalty for serious offences(RAPE,MURDER,DRUGS)to control the prison population and enforce discipline.I just hope the 'Giggling Cassanova from Nkadla' and his cabinet knows what they are doing.

  • Amanda - 2012-04-28 22:02

    Nice one, now we know what to do with the money we would have spent on E-toll. Upgrade our security...

  • kabi.wa.athi - 2012-04-29 00:52


  • Bless Boswell - 2012-04-29 00:58

    Are the prisoners to be monitored? If they commit the same crimes, what then?

      Wally Walters - 2012-04-29 13:21

      This is totally insane .

  • Kaylee - 2012-04-29 06:44

    AHH , this cant end well !!

  • Skye Paige Fernandes - 2012-04-29 07:24

    Make more jails:)