‘I was bored, so I raped’
A prisoner who benefited from President Jacob Zuma’s special remission of sentences was re-arrested after he broke into a woman’s house and raped her – because he was bored.
The man had been free for only two weeks when he re-offended.
The man, who was released from a prison in Wepener, Free State, on May 8, allegedly committed the housebreaking and rape offences on May 22.
According to the Department of Correctional Services, the man said he had committed the crimes because he had nothing to do.
The man, who cannot be named as he has yet to plead, is one of the 37 783 prisoners who were released from various prisons across the country following Zuma’s special remission of sentence to certain categories of prisoners.
However, within a month of their early release, 47 are already back behind bars and facing charges of murder, attempted murder, rape, robbery, assault, kidnapping, theft, stock theft, possession of drugs, possession of stolen goods and housebreaking.
The re-offenders, when asked why they had committed the crimes so soon after their release, blamed boredom, homelessness, hunger, poverty, drug addiction and unemployment.
A female offender who was arrested for theft said she had committed the crime intentionally to be re-arrested and put back in prison because she had nowhere to stay after her release.
The woman, who had been freed from Pretoria Correctional Services, was arrested four days after her release.
Another man, who had initially been arrested for assault, committed murder just after being released. The Limpopo, man had been out for only two days.
“He is alleged to have gone home and found his girlfriend with another man. A fight broke out and he is alleged to have killed the girlfriend’s lover.
“He handed himself to police, who arrested him, but he later committed suicide in the cells,” Correctional Services spokeswoman Sibongile Khumalo said.
One man who was serving time for attempted murder when he was released was re-arrested on charges of committing the same offence.
Another man, from Beaufort West in the Western Cape, who faces a charge of stock theft, stated hunger as the reason for his crime.
Khumalo said the man said there was no food at home and the family were hungry, so he had stolen the animal.
Another man, who was on parole for housebreaking and theft, was arrested just a few hours after being granted his freedom. Khumalo said that as part of his parole conditions, correctional services officials used to check on him periodically at home.
On May 9, they told him that he was now a free man and would no longer be getting visits from them. A few hours later, the man was behind bars for housebreaking and theft, again.
Khumalo said that although the prisoners were released out of a gesture of humanity, those who had re-offended had spat in the face of the government that had released them.
“And other departments are affected too. The police have to hunt them and take them to police stations. The Justice Department has to invest time and effort to bring the suspects to book and sentence them. And we, as Correctional Services, have to update our records,” Khumalo pointed out.
Correctional Services is expected to conduct pre-release assessments and run pre-release preparation programmes.
The releases will end on July 6.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said Zuma had “noted what had happened and would take that into consideration as we move forward”.