Man who started Concourt’s parole ruling still behind bars

In light of Mofokeng and Mokoena’s parole, Kashiefa Ajam reflects on Van Vuuren’s position after Thursday’s judgment for the Saturday Star.

It was a quick decision to parole political prisoners Fusi Mofokeng and Joseph Mokoena after a Constitutional Court judgement this week on who should handle the parole process for prisoners serving life sentences imposed before October 1, 2004.
But Daniel Van Vuuren has not been so lucky
Paradoxically Van Vuuren was the one whose case paved the way for Mofokeng and Mokoena to go free.
His parole application, for his 1992 death sentence for murder, robbery and other crimes which was commuted when the death penalty was declared unconstitutional, has not yet been considered by the Minister of Correctional Services Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
And if he receives no communication from the minister’s office by next week he will lodge a legal application to force her to do so.
Van Vuuren applied to the Constitutional Court last year to have his parole considered. The court agreed and ordered on September 30 last year that he was eligible to be considered for parole because he had been in prison for more than 15 years.
The court instructed certain parole functionaries – the case management committee, the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board, and the minister – to consider Van Vuuren’s parole application, “with immediate effect”.
But Mapisa-Nqakula said at the time that she could not grant anyone parole without a favourable recommendation from the NCCS and that she had to get clarity from the Constitutional Court before granting anyone parole.
This week the Constitutional Court did just that, finding that the NCCS was excluded from the process of parole consideration for inmates sentenced during the period August 1, 1987 and March 1, 1994.
Van Vuuren’s attorney Chantal Botes said yesterday that he was willing to wait until next week to hear from the ministry.
“My client has instructed me to wait. If we hear nothing we will immediately start our application.”

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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