Prison inmates watch entertainers at Johannesburg (Sun City) Correctional Services. An awards ceremony for offenders involved in rehabilitation programs involved intermitent entertainment. 231110. Picture: Chris Collingridge 881

The last group of prisoners granted a special remission of sentence by President Jacob Zuma will be freed on Friday, prison authorities said.

“This is the very last group that will be released,” correctional services ministry spokesman Mahlodi Sam Muofhe said on Thursday.

Last month, 43 of the offenders freed so far were back in jail.

Zuma announced the special remission of sentence for some categories of sentenced prisoners, probationers, and parolees on April 27, Freedom Day.

At the time, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said it could apply to more than 35 000 offenders, subject to an assessment.

He estimated that around 20 855 probationers and parolees, and 14 651 sentenced inmates would be released “conditionally or unconditionally”.

Offenders who qualified were released from May 14 in “controllable groups”.

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