Ramaphosa approves remission of non-violent offenders: Lamola

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Justice and Correctional Services Minister, Ronald Lamola has announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa has approved the remission of non-violent offenders in South Africa.

There are 212 286 inmates, including 9351 foreign nationals, managed by the Department of Correctional Services across the country’s 243 correctional centres and 218 community centres.

Lamola says  unfortunately the current occupancy rate is 143%, with the overcrowding rate at 43.06%.

“The recent loss of 3024 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 1475. This 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 programs,” He says.

Lamola says the remission of sentences is a crucial aspect of our justice system, and Section 84 (2) (J) of the Constitution enables it.

“However, it’s important to note that certain offenders, such as those convicted of sexual offences, tampering with essential infrastructure, serving life sentences, and being declared dangerous criminals, are excluded from this criterion of this special remission. Despite this, low-risk offenders in these categories may still be eligible for a 12-month remission,” he adds.

Earlier, the Justice and Correctional Services minister, said that the overcrowding in prisons was what informed the decision to institute the process that benefited Zuma, and other non violent offenders.

VIDEO: Lamola addresses the media: