Parties miss the point about pardoning

THE ANC and DA have completely missed the point in their reasoning about what the pardoning powers of a government or head of state should be.

THE ANC and DA have completely missed the point in their reasoning about what the pardoning powers of a government or head of state should be.

In most democratic countries a pardon is normally only intended as a facility to expunge the criminal records of people who are retrospectively found to be innocent of the crimes they were convicted of.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the government has during the past 50 years posthumously pardoned two men found to have been innocent of the crimes they were tried for.

Both had been erroneously accused of murder and executed by the state during the 50s.

Last year that government posthumously pardoned many WW1 British soldiers who had been executed for cowardice on the front line more than 90 years ago.

Their criminal records were expunged because shell shock is now deemed to be an illness.

To pardon is to forgive and even excuse. Surely no person, not even a president, should be given the exclusive power to pardon and therefore forgive, excuse and expunge the criminal records of convicted evil killers.

How on earth did we reach a situation in South Africa where former president Thabo Mbeki obtained the almost godly power to pardon a convicted fraudster. Someone who was proven in court to have stolen money donated by a foreign organisation.

Money intended for the poor of South Africa.

There is a parole system in place to cater for convicted criminals that are deemed to be rehabilitated and that should definitely be enough.

Frank Hartry, Kingsburgh

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