Presidency clarifies presidential pardons applications

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Pretoria - Applicants waiting presidential pardon will be notified of the outcome of their applications through normal procedures, the Presidency said on Wednesday.

The presidential pardon is an executive act of mercy to be exercised by the President in his exclusive discretion, and which will only be reviewable by the courts in very limited circumstances where bad faith by the President can be proved.

According to the Presidency, President Jacob Zuma currently has more than 300 applications for pardons awaiting his attention, from South Africans from all walks of life who have violated the laws of the land.

Apartheid-era police hit squad commander Eugene De Kock and convicted fraudster Shabir Shaik are among the candidates who applied for a presidential pardon. This has been received with criticism especially by opposition parties.

The process of applying for a presidential pardon requires an individual to first apply to the Minister of Justice, before that application is then forwarded to the Presidency.

This must happen because the Department of Justice is responsible for motivating to the Presidency either in favour or in opposition to the application.