President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters.

In a surprise move using seldom exercised presidential powers, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced a special remission that will see some offenders having their sentences reduced drastically.

However, as a way of frowning at the spiraling gender-based violence that has seen children and women becoming victims, Ramaphosa said those jailed for sexual offences and violent crimes, would not qualify for this special process.

Making this announcement on Monday in Bergville, KZN Midlands, while addressing the main reconciliation day event for 2019, Ramaphosa said such remissions were not new as former Presidents, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki once made them. He said remissions are carefully considered, taking into account the interest of the public and the administration of justice.

WATCH: President Cyril Ramaphosa announces a special remission of sentence for specific categories of offenders, those out on probation and those on parole. Video: Sihle Mavuso/Politics.

Amongst those who stand to benefit include sentenced offenders, parolees and those on probation. 

While the list of those who stand to benefit would be announced by the minister of justice and correctional services, Ronald Lamola, later on Monday, it was widely expected that it may benefit a few high profile prisoners. 

Among them is jailed Abathembu King, Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo and fees must fall activist Kanya Cekeshe. 

It must be noted that sentence remission differs from presidential pardons. In the remission of sentence, a jailed offender is released to serve the rest of his or her sentence at home and the criminal record remains. This is while a presidential pardon expunges the criminal record of an offender.

Political Bureau