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  • Written by  Chris Makhaye, www.thenewage.co.za
  • Published in In the News
  • Read 1929 times

Many victims not aware of presidential pardon

Only 30 people from KZN have lodged formal objections to the granting of special presidential pardons to convicts serving sentences for political murders.

More than 50 of the names on the list of 149 people recommended for presidential amnesty are from KZN.

The list consists of people recommended for presidential parole by a reference group made up of members of political parties represented in parliament.

Victims of violence, or their relatives, had until December 4 last year to file objections before President Jacob Zuma decides whether to grant amnesty to the applicants. Many of those on the list claim their crimes were politically motivated. Some were members of the ANC and IFP while others were incarcerated for acts of violence including those committed in areas such as Richmond and Shobashobane.

Marje Jobson of the Khulumani Support Group told The New Age yesterday that while only 30 had formally lodged objections to the perpetrators of violence, many more were in theory opposed to the granting of the presidential pardons.

She said Khulumani was planning to write a letter to President Zuma later this week to ask for a review of the process of special presidential pardon to accommodate participation of the victims and their families.

"We believe that the process is flawed and would not solve any problems. Many of the victims and their families do not read newspapers where the list was advertised. Some are illiterate and live in deep rural areas,” she said.

She said Khulumani had asked the government to also release the names of the victims of violence to make it easier for their relatives to file objections.

However, Jobson said she knew that the government was already active in this regard.

“I have heard recently from the apartheid-era minister of police, Adrian Vlok, that he has received a letter from the Department of Justice asking for his permission to release information about his amnesty application to the public,” she said.

Simphiwe Shabalala, a field worker who interviewed some of the victims of the Richmond violence, said many of the victims and their relatives were not even aware of the process of special presidential pardon.

“Most of them said they were keen to put forward formal objections but they didn’t know how to go about it.

“The system of lodging objections is too cumbersome and not ideally suited to people on the ground,” said Shabalala.

President Zuma’s spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, referred all queries to the Department of Justice.

Tladi Tladi, spokesperson for the justice minister, was not available for comment yesterday.

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