THERE is still confusion in the department of Correctional Services on what the definition of medical parole is and what it means to be terminally ill.
Minister of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told a press briefing in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, yesterday that a clear definition was needed.
"Medical parole refers to people who are terminally ill, people certain to die, but I don't know how you can know for certain that someone will die," she said.
She said 65percent of people who were granted parole because they were said to be terminally ill were still alive.
"It is difficult to bring them back when they have fully recuperated. But when people see them walking around they ask on what basis were they released," she said.
She also admitted that granting medical parole to Schabir Shaik had caused a stir among inmates and the public.
She said that inmates in a similar condition felt they should also have been granted parole.
However, she said inmates should understand that they have a right to apply for parole but not a right to be paroled.
Mapisa-Nqakula acknowledged that though there was a lot of good work done by parole boards, they still had their own shortfalls.
"The boards have teething problems. That's why we must make sure that the decisions we take have integrity and can stand up to scrutiny."
Since their establishment in July 2005, the 52 parole boards have considered more than 200000 applications and granted parole to about 100000 inmates.