Cyril Ramaphosa stance on GBV welcomed

Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe will qualify for early parole.
Fees Must Fall activist Kanya Cekeshe will qualify for early parole.
Image: Vusumzi_Gqalane via Twitter

AbaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo could soon be a free man - albeit on parole.

So, it will be the same with #FeesMustFall student activist Kanya Cekeshe.

Justice minister Ronald Lamola said Cekeshe was likely to qualify for parole around February but now he could be home sooner.

Dalindyebo and Cekeshe will qualify for early release after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a "special remission of sentences" to be granted to prisoners and those out on parole at a Day of Reconciliation official event in KwaZulu-Natal yesterday.

Ramaphosa said the decision to grant the remission of sentences were always carefully considered, taking into account the interest of the public and the administration of justice.

He said it must be emphasised that this remission of sentences excludes those who are sentenced for sexual offences, for violent, aggressive offences, as well as people who are declared dangerous criminals in terms of section 286(A) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1977.

Ramaphosa's announcement effectively knocks a year off the sentences of 14000 prisoners from the select categories of prisoners, parolees and probationers.

We welcome the president's move that the people who committed sexual offences and violent crimes would not qualify for the special release.

It means a lot for a country like ours with high rates of violent crimes such as femicide and rape. SA is regarded as one of the most violent countries in the world and we want perpetrators of such crimes to know that they will serve their long sentences without any leniency from authorities.

We hope Ramaphosa's stance on violent crimes will be felt by all the offenders who will remain languishing in prisons and send a strong message to would be killers and rapists that they will face harsh sentences.

However, we also hope those who are released are rehabilitated and ready to start new clean lives after being reintegrated into communities, unlike some of the last batch of prisoners who were granted remissions in 2012 who came out and committed more crimes.

Let's join our president and welcome those released as life is about second chances.

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