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Cape Town – To address the prosecution of people involved in recent acts of violence and looting, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola says cases involving people in possession of stolen property or people who participated in looting may lead to restorative justice or alternative measures.
These include an IOU, diversion and plea agreements as a means of wrapping it up.
Lamola addressed the Justice and Correctional Services portfolio committee on Wednesday.
He said the ministry’s analysis of the situation shows that the unrest and violent incidents over the past week were caused by a confluence of issues.
“I personally walked the streets of Soweto, Tembisa in Gauteng and Gamalakhe in KwaZulu-Natal respectively. I saw and witnessed very disturbing scenes. Our old scars as a nation were reopened. Racial tensions simmering in our communities really boiled to a point where the ethos of the National Democratic Revolution was significantly derailed,” Lamola said.
The aftermath has now led to more than 2,000 arrests and concerns about overcrowding.
Lamola said that to ensure that justice continues to run exceptionally well, he has issued instructions to address the backlogs arising from backwardness, as well as the cases arising from the public violence and disorder that erupted in KwaZulu Natal and spread to Gauteng. distribute, manage.
“The National Public Prosecution Service has considered the operational consequences of the unrest. The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have the most challenges. Chief among those challenges is the limited staff in offices due to Covid-19-related reasons and transportation issues due to the unrest.
“Another challenge is the overcrowding of the cells of the South African police forces, which will require rapid processing of detainees when large numbers of arrests are made,” he said.
Lamola added that the operational plan will address the collaboration between NPA and SAPS, many of these cases would likely amount to theft than just possession of stolen property.
In collaboration with SAPS, new cases will be divided into four categories, including actual looters and individuals participating in shop and point of sale stealing, individuals in possession of stolen property, groups and individuals stealing property in large quantities, organized or planned action and temptation or incitement to public violence.
He told the commission that experienced prosecutors have been appointed from the Department of Organized Crime and Priority Crime Cases. In the provinces, crime chiefs led by prosecutors are tasked with handling more complex and serious cases.
“From the perspective of the correctional services, we are forced to redesign the pre-trial detention system, which is already overloaded. We have received a large number of detainees in pre-trial detention in the KZN and Gauteng regions, as a result of arrests for recent criminal acts and violence. At present, a total of 1,498 pre-trial detainees are in our facilities,” he said.