Judge puts decisionon pardonson hold

Efforts to stop President Kgalema Motlanthe from granting pardons to over 100 people convicted of apartheid-era political crimes were postponed by the Pretoria high court yesterday.

Efforts to stop President Kgalema Motlanthe from granting pardons to over 100 people convicted of apartheid-era political crimes were postponed by the Pretoria high court yesterday.

Judge Willie Seriti postponed the urgent application brought by a coalition of civil society organisations to April 14.

Seven members of the rightwing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging were also granted permission to intervene - on the side of the president and justice minister- to oppose the challenge.

The coalition of seven groups, including the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and the Khulumani Support Group, would argue that the pardon process was flawed and unlawful.

"We want victims [of politically motivated violence] to make representations when pardons are considered," said legal counsel for the coalition, advocate Lwazi Kubukeli.

Motlanthe said in his opposing affidavit that he had been advised that the coalition had no legal standing to bring the application.

"I respectfully submit that the factual foundation of the application is seriously flawed," Motlanthe's affidavit says.

"None of the applicants have adduced evidence to show that they are victims of conflicts of the past, in their own right."

He said the applicants claimed that the pardons' reference group had violated certain rights of victims.

They had, however, not identified a constitutional right or rights "that would be violated" were he to grant or refuse a pardon. - Sapa

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