Proclamation 19 authorising the placement on parole of qualifying sentenced offenders has been published in Government Gazette 43298.
The presidency confirmed that the placement on parole of selected categories of offenders is designed to address, manage and combat the spread of COVID-19 in all correctional centres in South Africa.
The placement on parole applies to offenders who are, or would have been, incarcerated on 27 April 2020.
Offenders who have or will reach their minimum detention periods within five years qualify for parole.
Categories of sentenced offenders and/or crimes committed for which sentences are being served excluded from parole include lifers; sexual offences; murder and attempted murder; sedition; high treason; sabotage and terrorism; Gender Based Violence and child abuse.
Meanwhile, in a statement on the Special Coronavirus COVID-19 parole dispensation, the justice and correctional services minister, Ronald Lamola, admitted that the correctional services department is confronted with the “glaring impossibility of maintaining physical distancing in our centres due to overcrowding”.
The minister added that the department’s Covid-19 preventative measures are “stretched to the brink” and the virus continues to spread.
“We ought to act decisively and prevent this invisible killer from rapidly multiplying in our Centres.”
The minister confirmed that placement on parole will be a decision of the parole boards.
“It will be done in phases and the most vulnerable, such as those with underlying health problems, elderly (aged above 60 years) and female offenders with infants, will be prioritised.”
Approximately 19 000 inmates across the country will benefit from parole provided they meet requirements of the parole board.
“They will be considered on a case by case basis and those who qualify will be placed on parole after all the due processes including Victim Offender Dialogues, have accordingly unfolded.”
The minister indicated that parolees that come into conflict with the law will have their parole revoked and will be re-incarcerated.