Pretoria – Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha says his department has developed a position paper on parole administration in South Africa.
“This paper is intended to form a basis for discussion and consultation with all role-players and other interested parties on proposals with a view to develop an appropriate new parole system for the country,” the minister said.
Addressing the media in Pretoria on Thursday, Minister Masutha said the new intended parole system will have a strong focus on the support to be provided to victims of crime as well as communities.
“A need has also been identified to provide support to parolees and ex-offenders upon release,” the minister said.
Minister Masutha said although the Department of Correctional Services is responsible for executing warrants issued by the courts, the eventual release and reintegration of offenders into the society can only be successful if society is also involved in facilitating offenders back into communities.
“This can only be achieved if family, friends, and the community alike can provide support to offenders whilst in the correctional centre and also when they are in the system of community corrections.
“This is the transformation of the country’s parole system and we call upon the public to study it and play an active role which will take us into a new jurisprudence (legal system) of parole,” Minister Masutha said.
Minister Masutha said he believes that his department is making sound progress in terms of providing quality programmes to inmates and that he is positive that the organisational restructuring project the department has started will continue to transform correctional services for the benefit of all South Africans.
The Department has experienced numerous litigations for not considering offenders timeously, and more litigations are anticipated given the current backlog of offenders who are now partaking in hunger strikes and sit-ins in the Correctional Centres due to delays in submission of their profiles.
This, according to Minister Masutha, has also resulted in overcrowding as offender population increased in some of the centres.
“The number of motion applications from lifers has been increasing over the years. We receive these motions almost on a daily basis,” the minister said.