Release of prisoners to free Zuma unleashes crime wave

Issued by Janho Engelbrecht MP – DA Shadow Minister of Correctional Services
15 Apr 2024 in News

In August 2023, a special remission program (SRP) saw the release of 16 074 prisoners by President Ramaphosa under the guise of reducing overcrowding. In reality, the SRP was a political favour to free Jacob Zuma, who was released a mere hours after being readmitted after a failed medical parole decision.

This political decision to release Zuma, a decision the ANC government is likely to regret, has resulted in terrible consequences for people living in this country. In January this year, the Democratic Alliance (DA) reported that 97 offenders released in terms of the SRP had reoffended a mere two months after their release. The number of re-offenders is now at 433 as of 29 February 2024.

Not only have we seen re-offences, but the DA can now reveal the crimes that were committed by the 16 074 prisoners which led to them being in prison in the first place. It is an indictment on the ANC government that they have allowed violent and un-rehabilitated criminals to be released onto the streets.

Of the 16 074 released, the following were convicted and serving sentences for:

  • 396 for Robbery
  • 17 for Kidnapping
  • 3 for Rape and Sexual Offences
  • 402 for Assault with Intent to do Grievous Bodily Harm
  • 3 883 for Theft
  • 3 574 for Immigration Offences
  • 2 632 for Housebreaking
  • 278 for Culpable Homicide
  • 20 for Arson
  • 3 for Domestic Violence

Notably, it appears that the ANC also gladly released 15 people convicted of corruption.

What is shocking is that those incarcerated for rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault were mistakenly released as per the Minister’s own admission. What is more worrying is that it is not clear if these offenders have been readmitted back to prison or whether they continue to walk our streets, plaguing our communities.

No indication has been made as to whether the victims of these heinous crimes were informed, provided support or even extended an apology.

No information has been forthcoming from the Minister on how these criminals could have been released by accident in the first place, but it shows once again that the ANC will do whatever it takes to protect their own. Hundreds of criminals now roam the streets recommitting their heinous crimes all because of a political favour to Zuma.

The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to publicly apologise, not only to the nation but to each and every victim of these crimes, for releasing sexual offenders into the public. He should also indicate whether these criminals are back behind bars or not.