Cape Town - Gender-based violence activist, Reverend June Dolley-Major has lodged a complaint with the Public Protector to investigate the parole board and parole officers - citing several violent crimes like rape and murder of women and children at the hands of parolees.
Public protector spokesperson, Oupa Segalwe confirmed they had received the complaint.
“I confirm that the complaint was lodged earlier (yesterday). It will be assessed to determine jurisdiction. Only then will the decision on whether or not to investigate be taken.”
Dolley-Major said criminals being released on parole and then re-offending, had spurred her action.
“The fact that murderers and rapists come out on parole and re-offend - the criteria used for offenders to be eligible for parole needs to be investigated. What programmes are implemented to ensure offenders are ready to re-integrate into communities? Why are communities not informed when someone out on parole will be living in their neighbourhood?” asked Dolley-Major.
The examples she mentioned included 12-year-old Michaela Williams who was raped and murdered by parolee Steven Fortune, when he had broken his parole conditions.
Former UWC student Jess Hess and her grandfather were also murdered by a parolee.
Eight-year-old Reagan Gertse was kidnapped, raped and murdered by parolee Jakobus Petoors.
“I would like to see accountability. Apologising every time a parolee rapes and kills again is not enough. The parole board needs to be held accountable for their actions of releasing rapists and murderers. I also call for transparency, the parole board needs to inform the community through community policing forums when a parolee will be released. Then the CPF is to inform the community. Parole officers also need to be held accountable. They need to keep a record of parolees' check ins. The very first check in that is missed needs to be investigated, followed up, warrant of arrest issued and a statement released to inform people,” Dolley-Major added.
Department of Correctional Services (DCS) spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo said the current parole system needed restructuring.
“Such a review is currently under way. A Community Corrections Stakeholder Summit which took place at Leeuwkop Correctional Centre on March 29 and 30 resulted in an Action Plan focussing on elements related to absconder management, expansion of economic opportunities, restorative justice approaches as well as community initiatives.”
He added that for the past three years, DCS had recorded a 99% success rate for parolees and probationers complying with conditions of release.
“It is undesirable for parolees to reoffend as this does cause harm to the society. It is therefore imperative to develop an understanding through scientific research as to the causes of re-offending and the effectiveness of rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives, which DCS has embarked upon. The extent to which societal institutions such as the family unit and other community institutions embrace correction as one of their basic functions will have an impact on successful social reintegration as well as the future rate of re-offending,” said Nxumalo.