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There is outrage over parole being dished out to sex attackers who got life sentences and should be dying in prison. Among those paroled recently are Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger who attacked Alison Botha. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995, but served less than 30 years, as well as child killer Norman Simons, a.k.a The Station Strangler, who served only 28 years of his life sentence. BizNews speaks to Glynnis Breytenbach, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Services who calls it “an absolute, absolute disgrace”. She says it just confirms again that the African National Congress (ANC) and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola “do not care”. And she warns the Minister that the granting of these paroles could have tragic consequences – and that he will be held liable in his personal capacity “because he should have foreseen that this type of thing can go wrong, horribly wrong”. She also slams the Criminal Justice Cluster’s handling of the escape of Thabo Bester who was himself on parole when he raped two women. – Chris Steyn
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Relevant timestamps from the interview
- 00:00 – Introductions
- 00:49 – Glynnis Breytenbach on the Alison Botha case and the perpetrators getting parole
- 07:52 – Breytenbach on the Station Strangler case and him also receiving parole
- 10:23 – On Thabo Bester
- 11:25 – On why parole is being granted to dangerous, anti-social criminals
- 16:07 – Concludes
Highlights from the interview
There is outrage over parole being dished out to sex attackers who got life sentences and should be dying in prison.
Among those paroled recently are Frans du Toit and Theuns Kruger who attacked Alison Botha. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1995, but served less than 30 years, as well as child killer Norman Simons, a.k.a The Station Strangler, who served only 28 years of his life sentence.
BizNews speaks to Glynnis Breytenbach, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development who calls it “an absolute, absolute disgrace”.
“And it just confirms again that, and I know this is going to sound like a political argument and it’s not…the ANC (African National Congress) , and more particularly the Minister of Justice (Ronald Lamola), just do not get it, and they do not care. And he can’t even use the excuse of youth or inexperience…he practiced law before he became the Minister of Justice.”
She also slammed the Criminal Justice Cluster’s handling of the escape of Thabo Bester – who was himself on parole when he raped two women.
“They did nothing. They left those survivors of rape, those people who have already been victimised beyond contemplation, they left them out there vulnerable, uninformed and alone. And when we confronted them in Parliament, in our inquiry from my committee, with those facts, the best that the Minister could do was look mildly, mildly chastised, not even horrified, mildly chastised, and say, yes, we should have done better and we apologise. Now, that’s simply isn’t good enough.
“Then, a couple of weeks later, he releases on parole these two thugs that attacked Alison Botha. Bearing in mind, the Thabo Bester thing is fresh in his memory. The whole of South Africa is already cross with him about this issue. The fact that not only didn’t they do their job, not only did they not try and apprehend him, not only did they not investigate the escape, but they did not do anything to protect the victims. And that’s there: it must be in his mind every time he goes to bed at night, would be in mine. And he does it again. Weeks later he does it again. He releases these two thugs on parole without so much as the buy your leave to Alison Botha.”
Breytenbach recalls hows the judge in that matter said if the death penalty still existed, he would have imposed it.
“Two of them, two grown big bully boy men, stabbed her 37 times, slit her throat, raped her and left her for dead. She crawled along in the veld, holding her own head up so that it didn’t fall off her body until she came to a dirt road where she couldn’t crawl any further and lay there in the dirt, cradling her head so that it didn’t fall off.
“Alison Botha is an absolute phenomenon. Not only did she have the strength to drag herself through the veld and keep her wits about her while her head was quite literally falling off her neck, she survived. She’s managed to make a life, to have a family. But of course, she’s a victim and she’s going to remain traumatised forever. She’s not the kind of thing you forget. And then to have… these people threatening her from in prison, because they did, to have them released on parole without even not only not informing her, not consulting her, not considering her views, is so callous beyond measure that I have no words, well no words that you can say on radio anyway. And this is what the Minister of Justice thinks is acceptable behaviour.”
Breytenbach also says one can understand that people are up in arms about the parole granted to the “Station Strangler”. “People’s children were the victims. And those people are never going to get over it, neither is anyone in their family or their community ever going to get over it. So he comes out of prison already a marked man…”
She adds that the “big problem” is that the parole regime in South Africa is “completely and utterly broken”.
“Adding more every day is not helpful. It just means the system becomes more broken. It just means that their ability to exercise any kind of oversight over the parolees becomes less and less and less. So I can guarantee you that if you phone up anybody now today and ask them do they know where the two…Alison Botha thugs are right now…. the answer will be no. I can tell you they don’t even know where they live, they don’t even know what province they’re in.”
She points out that it now becomes incumbent upon the police to protect the community – and issues this warning to the Minister: “If something goes wrong, there’s gonna be big problems…both of these things are accidents waiting to happen. And when they do, and I sincerely hope they don’t, because that presupposes that some other poor individual is going to be a victim…But if things go wrong, and they probably will, then the Minister must understand that he’s going to be held liable in his personal capacity because he should have foreseen that this type of thing can go wrong, horribly wrong.”
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