Pretoria - Nine offenders, who were serving life sentences, have been granted parole by the Department of Correctional Services, "subject to certain conditions".
Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday granted parole to nine prisoners after considering recommendations of the National Council on Correctional Services (NCCS) for placing 18 prisoners who have served at least 20 years in custody.
They include Almond Nofomela, whose death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after he exposed apartheid hit squads. The minister confirmed his parole "subject to certain conditions," but did not elaborate.
Other offenders granted parole are JN Ndlela, S Sejosengoe, S Stuurman, M Bixi, A Ndletyanana, NP Nkumase, DS Mlumbi and S Satshi. According to the department, further details about the lifers will be released soon.
The minister said the 18 were among 57 prisoners who had served 20 years of their life sentences and were eligible for parole.
In terms of section 136(3) of Correctional Services Act of 1998, the case of an offender who has served 20 years of his sentence must be submitted to the NCCS, which must make a recommendation to the minister regarding the placement of the offender on parole.
In terms of the Act, the minister used her discretion to accept or reject any favourable recommendations made by the NCCS.
In exercising her discretion to grant parole to the offenders, Mapisa-Nqakula took into account the protection of the community, the risk of re-offending and the likelihood of successful reintegration of the offender into the community.
She emphasised that the Case Management Committees and Correctional Supervision as well as Parole Boards were important agents in the process of handling cases of prisoners.
Mapisa-Nqakula called on communities to take part in the processes of the Parole Boards.
"Victim participation is an essential part of the restorative justice process, which informs the policies of the Department of Correctional Services.
"Communities also need to facilitate offender reintegration into society to help us break the cycle of crime and reduce re-offending in our society," Mapisa-Nqakula said.