De Lille: President should not have power to pardon

The president should not have the power to grant pardons, Independent Democrats Leader Patricia De Lille said on Sunday.

“A constitutional amendment should be enacted, removing the power of the president of the Republic of South Africa to grant pardons,” she said in a statement.

On Friday, De Lille submitted a memorandum to Parliament in a quest to have legislation passed which would remove this presidential power.

“The constitutional provision granting the president the power to pardon individuals is an anachronistic provision that has its roots in the British monarchic dispensation in which the king or queen was invested with supreme power to pardon individuals,” said de Lille as part of a memorandum of legislative proposal she submitted.

“This provision is incongruent with the values of a modern democratic state in which the principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers are entrenched.

“This provision also goes against those principles in that it grants an individual, namely the president, the power to override a legal decision that has been taken by another arm of the government,” said De Lille in the memorandum.

Speculation has been rife that former Vlakplaas head Eugene de Kock was to receive a pardon after it was reported he had met President Jacob Zuma last year.

Earlier this month, ANC MP and struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela criticised the possibility of a pardon for De Kock.

“I cannot believe that we can even begin talking about [De Kock’s early release]. I just can’t,” she told the Star newspaper.

Madikizela-Mandela compared the possible release of De Kock to that of Janusz Walus who was convicted of the murder of Umkhonto weSizwe and SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

“It pains me so much to even talk about that. When you talk about De Kock, you talk about Walus to me,” she said. - Sapa



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