The DA has slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special remission in August which resulted in a presidential pardon of former president Jacob Zuma and more than 16 472 other law breakers.
Zuma received a special pardon along with other criminals due to the over population in prisons.
On August 10, Zuma who had been sentenced to 15 months in 2021 for having defied the courts, was released through a presidential remission after the approval of Ramaphosa.
However, the DA has argued that this was a mere attempt at giving Zuma a free pass.
In a statement on Sunday, DA spokesperson on correctional services, Janho Engelbrecht, said this was a favour to Zuma.
“Mere hours after Jacob Zuma was readmitted to prison to serve out his sentence for contempt of court, he was released in terms of Cyril Ramaphosa’s special remission process, along with 16 472 other inmates.
“Under the guise of reducing overcrowding in prisons, the process was used purely as a political favour to free Zuma, resulting in inmates who lack integration and rehabilitation being released on the streets,” said Engelbrecht.
According to Engelbrecht, most of the prisoners released had committed crime. This shocking reality was confirmed by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, in a written reply to a DA parliamentary question.
“The special remission process was announced in August 2023 and ended on November 2, 2023. By October 26, 2023, 97 inmates had already re-offended.
“In a written reply to DA questions, the minister revealed the shocking reality of the ANC government’s abuse of public power on ordinary South Africans,” Engelbrecht said.
According to the DA, of the 97 criminals rearrested after their sham release, 20 criminals were arrested for violent crimes, including robbery, aggravated robbery, family violence and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
Engelbrecht said 41 of the criminals released re-offended within 20 days of being released, with one criminal having committed three counts of housebreaking and seven counts of theft within a day of being released.
A reports further states that 69 criminals committed theft and 37 counts of house break-ins were recorded while one re-offender was arrested for theft and being an illegal immigrant.
“It is unclear how an inmate was released without proper documentation or the intervention of Home Affairs. A total of 139 criminal acts which led to arrest were recorded.
“With these figures only being the ones who have been caught so far, there is concern as to exactly how many of the 16 472 criminals released, have re-offended without consequence – given the SAPS’ poor rate of investigations and arrests,” Engelbrecht said.
Engelbrecht said this remission has put the lives of South Africans at risk.