Special justice team to scrutinise system after parolees linked to serious crimes
Parolees have been fingered in serious crimes in recent weeks, with calls mounting for an urgent overhaul of the system.
Ministry spokesperson Crispin Phiri said: “The minister (Ronald Lamola) has taken a personal note. We seem to have a high rate of these incidents, particularly in the Western Cape.
“What causes these incidents, particularly in this jurisdiction?
“Our thinking is that we cannot have a blanket approach to such a problem; it needs to be properly looked at to help us to really address the problem.”
Last Friday, Moehydien Pangaker was charged with the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk, whose body was found in a stormwater pipe near Worcester two weeks after she disappeared.
Pangaker has a criminal history that dates back to the 1980s. In 2001, he was arrested and sentenced for his first serious crime, murder, in Kuils River.
In the same year he was sentenced for culpable homicide, abduction and child neglect in Ladismith. In 2003, he was sentenced for assault in Ladismith.
He was sentenced in 2008 at the Bellville Regional Court for kidnapping, child abuse and culpable homicide. He was released on parole, but absconded in 2015.
He was placed out on parole supervision at Ladismith Community Corrections on October 16, 2016. He then absconded again, and a case was opened at Ladismith.
He made a brief court appearance at the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Friday for Tazne’s murder where his case was postponed until April 17.
Other cases involving parolees included the murder of Michaela Williams, who went missing last month.
After her body was found, police arrested a 48-year-old man who was out on parole after raping an 8-year-old girl in 2005. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but was released on parole in 2018, after serving 13.
Dr Llewelyn Curlewis of the University of Pretoria’s department of procedural law said a person was granted parole once they had served at least half of their sentence, and could prove they had been rehabilitated and would not commit a crime.
He said there should be regular checks on parolees, but a lack of resources meant this did not always happen.
“I think there is a certain belief or trust we put on our parolees. We should relook at the whole system altogether... One would assume the board would always be strict instead of lenient on people that show they cannot be trusted.”
Parliament’s portfolio committee on women, youth and persons with disabilities said the department should take responsibility for failing Tazne.
“The poor and ineffective management of parolees is concerning, as this is the second child murdered by someone who is out on parole, and who has a history of conviction for violent crime,” committee chair Claudia Nonhlanhla Ndaba said.