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DURBAN - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Tuesday that president Cyril Ramaphosa's pardon of 14 647 inmates was "a slap in the face" of South Africans. 

"We have seen before where inmates are released on parole then suddenly they commit crimes again," said the party's KZN spokesperson for community safety and liaison, Blessed Gwala. 

There was no way of being sure that the inmates would no reoffend, added Gwala. 

The DA voiced the same concern on Monday - Reconciliation Day - when the announcement of pardons and sentence remissions was made.

Those likely to receive pardons include Kanya Cekeshe, a leader of the #FeesMustFall student protest movement, who set alight a police van, and AbaThembu king Dalindyebo, who is serving a 12-year sentence for crimes including arson, culpable homicide, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and kidnapping.

"Our society is of the opinion that some inmates are only admitting their mistakes for the sake of being considered for parole," said Gwala. 

He added that the pardons undermined the work of prosecutors and could result in communities performing acts of vigilantism.  

"As the IFP we would like to know from the relevant authorities - in particular the minister of correctional services - how many inmates from KwaZulu-Natal will receive the presidential remission? 

"We further want to know whether this special remission also includes political prisoners. Scores of political prisoners from different political parties are still languishing in jails across the country for crimes committed during the apartheid era. This special remission must not only benefit ANC cadres," said Gwala.  

He said that while the "Risk and Relapse Probability Report" would be used to assess and mitigate any risk associated with reoffending, the process had to be enforced. 

"We are totally against the release of rapists, those involved in political killings who are running the 'hire to kill industry' with impunity and all other killers. Such people must be weeded out of our society."

African News Agency (ANA)