Public Victim Offender dialogue aims to offer closure over crime committed: Lamola

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Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola says the dialogue between the victims of crime and the offenders is an emotional process to create peace for both parties.

Lamola led a one day session of the Public Victim Offender Dialogue at Cunnimore B, Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

As South Africa marks Reconciliation Day, offenders were granted an opportunity to apologise to the victims they hurt.

Lamola says the dialogue places the victim at the centre of the correction process.

Closure through dialogue

The one-day session was aimed at finding peace and closure through the Public Victim-Offender-Dialogue not only between the victim and the offender, but also the general public who are also affected by the crimes committed.

Kabelo Mashele lost his mother in 2014 after she was stabbed to death by Eunice Ngobeni.

During the dialogue, Ngobeni got a chance to apologise to Mashele who had to grow up without a mother.

“I feel disappointed for killing his mother and I’ve done that out of anger and I’ve realised that I made a big mistake however I apologised for these acts.

Mashele was also given an opportunity to say how he feels about this whole process. Though not easy, he believes life must go on. He accepted Ngobeni’s apology.

“I have accepted her apology, but my life is not easy without my mother however it indicates that she did this unintentionally. I live alone, no one supports me. I have to hustle to have food on the table.

Challenges faced by offenders set to be released on parole

The Department of Justice and Correctional Services says many offenders who are released on parole end up committing suicide because they are not welcomed by society.

The Department feels there is a need for such conversations.

Lamola says in Bushbuckridge alone there are over 250 parolees.

“I think the criticism will be unjustified. As you can see here, most of the offenders that we have and that have already started engagements with victims are nowhere near release. But when we look at programmes and reports of social workers, they show that this person shows remorse, he does accept that he has wronged society and this person understands that by him having wronged society, he will need to pay society through other way.”

Lamola says such dialogues make it easy for both parties to reconcile.