Baha'i News -- Maduna defends pardons despite murder case

Maduna defends pardons despite murder case

PRETORIA- Justice Minister Penuell Maduna yesterday defended the pardons President Thabo Mbeki granted in May this year, denying that they were a mistake.

No one could have foreseen that one of them would be charged with murder shortly after his release, Maduna told reporters in Pretoria.

"It is not a mistake to give pardons."

He said the process is continuing, adding: "Yesterday [Tuesday] I signed between 40 and 45 pardon recommendations."

One of the group pardoned in May, Dumisani Ncamazana, appeared in an East London court last week in connection with the murder of delicatessen owner Martin Whittaker.

The murder came two weeks after Ncamazana's release.

The pardon Mbeki granted in May saw 33 men freed, mostly members of the Pan Africanist Congress and the African National Congress.

Ncamaza was jailed for 16 years for his part in various Apla attacks before the 1994 election, including the killing of three Baha'i Faith Mission members.

Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon last week said Mbeki is in the dock along with Ncamazana, and contended that the president owes the country an explanation.

Maduna yesterday reiterated that the public interest is the main consideration in deciding whether or not a prisoner should be pardoned.

If Ncamazana is guilty, no one could have known beforehand that this would happen.

Asked if some form of special amnesty is in the pipeline, Maduna said the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is still being awaited.

"There are people who are advocating a special amnesty of sorts. We will engage those people, so wait patiently," the minister said.

Publish Date: 1 August 2002
Source: SAPA

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