The Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) believed the special remission of sentence announced by President Jacob Zuma was a tactic to free his former financial adviser Schabir Shaik, according to a report on Monday.
“We believe the blanket remission is only being used as a diversion, as Zuma seeks to reprieve Shaik, a person whom he sacrificed so that he could be a president,” The Citizen quoted Azapo spokesman Funani ka Ntontela saying.
The Sowetan newspaper quoted the organisation as saying it was unfair to offer the remission to criminals, but not political prisoners aligned to it.
“We accept the fact that measures should be found on reducing overcrowding in the country's prisons. However, we don't think the blanket remission of sentence should be one of those measures,” it told the publication.
“Azapo… are still calling for the release of political prisoners. These are comrades who fought for freedom and were found guilty by the National Party,” said Ka Ntontela.
“Yet the ANC has not seen a need for these freedom fighters to be released in order to enjoy this freedom that many of us enjoy.”
Zuma made the announcement at a Freedom Day celebration.
In 2005, the Durban High Court sentenced Shaik to 15 years in prison for fraud and corruption. His sentence ends in 2021. - Sapa