The decision taken by the department of Correctional Services to release former President Jacob Zuma from prison makes a mockery of the criminal justice system in South Africa, says president of ActionSA Mr Herman Mashaba.
The move shows “once again that President Ramaphosa puts the ANC first and the country second,” Mashaba said.
On Friday, the former head of state was granted a special remission of his sentence. According to the Department of Correctional Services, Zuma is one of thousands of inmates who had been granted such a remission in a bid to alleviate overcrowding in prisons.
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“ActionSA rejects with contempt President Ramaphosa’s political solution to former President Zuma’s reincarceration, which has seen the release of 9,488 criminals back into society to save Zuma from serving further prison time,” the president of ActionSA stated.
Mashaba said that President Ramaphosa’s government has bent over backwards to allow Zuma to evade the consequences of his actions.
“This sets a dangerous precedent that erodes the broader principle of unlawful acts having consequences, evident to all those who face rampant criminality on a daily basis,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has approved the remission of non-violent offenders in South Africa.
“Obviously, a question will arise whether former President Jacob Zuma will benefit from this decision or not. Indeed, he’s one of the beneficiaries as a low-risk offender,” Lamola announced at a media briefing.
He revealed that there are 212 286 inmates, including 9 351 foreign nationals, across the country’s 243 correctional centres and 218 community centres.
“Unfortunately, the current occupancy rate is 143%, with the overcrowding rate at 43.06%.
“The recent loss of 3 024 beds at Kutama Sinthumule due to fire means that overcrowding will increase by 4%, raising the overcrowding rate to 47.06% and in turn the occupancy rate will increase 147%,” the minister told reporters.
According to Lamola, this situation poses a direct threat to inmate health, security, and management, and it could lead to a surge in gangsterism.
“More importantly, it hampers the department’s ability to provide development and rehabilitation programmes,” he emphasised.
The Minister described the remission of sentences as a crucial aspect of the country’s justice system.