MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE
INKATHA FREEDOM PARTY

 


STATEMENT BY MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI 
- RELEASE OF 'NON DANGEROUS' PRISONERS

April 28, 2005

Statement by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi
President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

RELEASE OF 'NON DANGEROUS' PRISONERS

I felt a sense of apprehension on hearing Minister Balfour's statement that "non dangerous" criminals must be released in order to alleviate the problem of South Africa's crowded prisons. I am concerned about what legal criteria will be used to determine what criminals are dangerous and non-dangerous.

Whilst sensitive to the notion of restorative justice, especially for the youth, I cannot see how this can be done in isolation without a fundamental review of the entire criminal justice system, which is collapsing under a wave of criminality and a growing culture of impunity.

Noting that the Minister made the statement on Freedom Day, one cannot help but observe that there is a major bias against political prisoners from outside the ruling-party and its associates, particularly IFP political prisoners. If political prisoners are to be released, I hope that the merits of releasing IFP political prisoners will be judged fairly and non-discriminatory.

Until this government is tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime, particularly the deepening levels of poverty, inequality and social discord in our society, such a public policy intervention would be rash and premature.