Women and children are paying the ultimate price for the weaknesses in the South African criminal justice system as hundreds are rɐpǝd and killed by parolees, in most cases just months after their release.
Between March 2020 and the first three months of this year, a total of 337 people were killed by parolees. A further 68 attempted murder cases were linked to parolee suspects over the same period, while 678 robberies can be attributed to parolees.
Parolees were also linked to 394 rape cases in the period under review. This startling data was revealed by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola in his response to a parliamentary question by DA MP Janho Engelbrecht.
A parolee is expected to adhere to his/ her conditions of placement
In May 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa said thousands of low-risk prisoners would be granted parole to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in correctional facilities. This was in response to a UN call on all countries to reduce prison populations so that social distancing and self-isolation conditions could be observed.
Engelbrecht asked Lamola what the status of the review of the parole policy of his department was, including a total number of serious crimes committed by parolees since March
2020. The findings released by the ministry are shocking.
In his reply Lamola said: “The department produced a draft position paper on the revised parole system for South Africa, which was intended to form a basis for discussion and consultation
with all role-players and other interested parties on proposals with a view to finalise an appropriate new parole system for South Africa.”
In June, Sunday World reported on how South Africa is struggling to curb overcrowding in its prisons. The spokesperson for the department of correctional services, Singabakho Nxumalo, said the parole review process was under way.
“It has to be understood that parole placement comes with compliance conditions. A parolee is expected to adhere to his/her conditions of placement. Monitoring officials in the employ of correctional services must ensure that there is compliance by either visiting parolees at their place of residence, workplace, or instructing parolees to visit the community corrections office.
There are tools used to this effect to ensure that monitoring does happen.”
In July, police launched a manhunt for an escaped parolee, who allegedly shot and killed two Boksburg correctional services officials.