Political pardons recommendations tabled
On Monday, government released a list of 149 convicted criminals who have been recommended for political pardons – including perpetrators of some of the most heinous apartheid crimes committed in South Africa. On the list is Adriaan Vlok, apartheid ‘minister of law and order’, as well as former police chief Johannes van der Merwe. The list also includes the names of four AWB members convicted of the 1995 Kuruman attacks, as well as those of ‘Worcester bombers’ Cliffie Barnard and Daniel Coetzee. (Read more in The Sowetan or Business Day)
Two named perpetrators, Simanga Emmanuel Dlamini and Mbongeni Mjwara, have been convicted of 21 murders each, as well as numerous attempted murders.
Earlier this year, a coalition of NGOs that included the IJR, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, Khulumani Support Group, International Centre for Transitional Justice, South African History Archives Trust, Human Rights Media Centre, and the Freedom of Expression Institute launched a successful constitutional court case challenging the lack of victim participation in the special dispensation allowing for political pardons. (Read related posts by Brad Brockman and Fanie du Toit)
According to the Department of Justice, individuals or parties who want to make representations regarding the pardons recommendations must notify the Secretariat within 30 days. The coalition has now expressed regret that government had to be legally compelled to involve victims in this process, and has called for serious efforts to “contact victims through an all-encompassing media campaign, involving the press, radio and TV”.
In the interest of broadening access and information dissemination, I have re-posted the procedures advertised by the Department of Justice below, and encourage others to re-post as well. The full list of pardons recommendations is available here.
‘Any person or party who wishes to make representations to The Presidency must notify the Secretariat in writing within 30 days of this publication. The Secretariat will respond to any communication received within 30 days. Thereafter such party will have a period of 30 days to lodge a detailed and substantiated written representation with the Secretariat. On receipt of communication from a victim or interested party the Secretariat will respond by way of a letter to the victim or interested party requesting that they, within a 30 day period:
- State in appropriate detail, whether or not, in his or her view, the offence(s) was/were politically motivated.
- Indicate, with reasons, whether they support the application for pardon.
- Indicate, with reasons, whether they object to the granting of a pardon.
- Victims should forward their written representations to the head of the Secretariat.
Victims or interested parties should forward their written notification and written representations to the Head of the Secretariat:
Mr Frederik Heyns
Director: Legal Process
The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Private Bag X81, PRETORIA, 0001
Physical address: The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, 1st Floor – Reception, Momentum Building, 329 Pretorius Street, PRETORIA, 0001
E-mail enquiries: PoliticalPardons@justice.gov.za
Telephone: Liana Nieuwoudt: Tel (012) 315 1278, Thulani Khambule: Tel (012) 315 4822, Fritz Willmot: Tel (012) 3151412
Fax: 086 6425 357′