90 'lifers' go to court to fight for parole
Four of the cohort of prisoners‚ confined in leg irons‚ shuffled into the gallery before their application to compel the Department of Correctional Services to consider them for parole was heard.
Prisoner Nkosinathi Ntenza‚ who deposed to an affidavit which formed the basis of their application‚ said that all the men involved in the court bid had served an appropriate portion of their sentence which made them eligible for parole.
“We are entitled to be considered for parole upon completing 13 years and 4 months of our respective sentences. Many of us have already served the stipulated time but have yet to be considered for parole‚” he wrote in papers before the court.
“The Minister (of Correctional Services) almost always does not consider lifers at the stipulated time.”
Ntenza said the DCS had the onus to ensure that key documents were obtained to consider each offender for parole and they had failed to do this.
“It cannot be fair in a constitutional democracy that an administrator should deny a concession because of circumstances caused by him- or herself.”
“Reports which are missing or which have not been properly acquired are because the minister has failed to do his job and in so doing has violated the rights of the lifers‚” he added.
The department was not represented by an attorney in court and the matter was remanded to December 13.
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