Minister of Justice and Correctional Services advocate Michael Masutha speaks at Unisa on restorative justice. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services advocate Michael Masutha is hosting a Restorative Justice Colloquium in partnership with the University of South Africa. 

The organisations sought to engage various stakeholders in dissecting restorative justice as a forward-looking, preventative response that strives to understand the crime in its social context and be able to deliver justice and ensure that offenders make restitution to society for their crimes. 

Masutha emphasised that he has been advocating for a victim-centred justice system, wherein restorative justice plays an integral role as a complementary process that improves the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of justice. 

The minister also made it known that he instructed his department to first seek the inputs of victims or offended persons prior to where his decision was sought on granting people sentenced to life parole. 

He wanted his department to provide sufficient evidence of efforts made to find the victims or families of the victims. 

This, he said, would enable restorative justice by avoiding instances whereby victims or offended persons were surprised by former offenders walking free in society.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services advocate Michael Masutha speaks at Unisa on restorative justice. Video: James Mahlokwane


Masutha said the Department of Justice and Correctional Services sought to rehabilitate offenders back into society in a fashion that assisted former offenders to be welcomed back into society instead of being made to feel like outsiders. 

For this reason, Masutha felt engaging communities and educating society about restorative justice would help the department make people understand what the department was trying to achieve.

Masutha engaged the audience on debating about the prospect of substituting the word "victim" with "offended". He highlighted worries that could come forward from the term offended being adopted and then listened to the audience's take on using either "victim" or "offended". 

Masutha said the purpose was not to downplay the impact of crime, he was, however, worried about people taking on the title of victim for the rest of their lives while offenders could possibly be considered victors for crime. He has a vision to eliminate the conquest where crime was involved. 

The colloquium allowed various stakeholders in the audience to engage on various issue and subjects relating to restorative justice.