A newly-established parole board consisting of medical practitioners has been mandated to independently review all applications for parole, the department of correctional services said on Sunday.
It would be chaired by Dr Victor Ramathesele and would “look into all seriously and terminally ill inmates who had requested release on medical grounds”, said Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula.
The new board would come into effect on March 1.
She said that under the new framework, a member of the public, the concerned inmate or a family member may initiate the process of seeking medical parole.
“The [former national police commissioner] Jackie Selebi case was a talking point in the media. That request, made by a group [calling themselves Friends of Jackie Selebi], could not be accepted under the current legislation — I responded to that application in terms of current law. That application can be made under a new framework in March,” she said.
Selebi was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for corruption after accepting payments from convicted drug trafficker Glenn Agliotti, but appealed the conviction.
He had to be taken to hospital when he saw on TV that the Supreme Court of Appeal had found that the South Gauteng High Court was correct in its ruling.
On Sunday, Nqakula said her department would also implement the use of electronic monitoring on parolees and probationers.
“This project involves 150 parolees, including 70 convicts on life sentences who are on parole … The aim here is to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities and to minimise the possibility of violation of set parole conditions,” she said.
The pilot project would cost R6-million this year, but the minister said she did not know the costs of future projects. — Sapa