News / South Africa

Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
6 Jul 2017
6:30 am

Judge orders relook at parole application for former gangster

Ilse de Lange

Prisoner claims the minister did not follow the correct procedure when considering his request.

The High Court in Pretoria has ordered the correctional services minister to reconsider parole for a former gangster who was once on South Africa’s list of 10 most wanted criminals.

Andile Qaqa turned to the court after the Parole Board in 2015 recommended that he be placed on day parole, but the National Council for Correctional Services recommended that he must serve another 24 months before being considered again.

The minister accepted this recommendation, as well as the council’s recommendation that attempts should be made to obtain a copy of the judgment on conviction and sentence, that the restorative justice process should be pursued, that “risk factors” identified by a psychologist should be attended to and that Correctional Services should help Qaqa pursue his studies.

Qaqa and two co-accused were in August 1999 sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1994 murder of a security officer, Andre Terblanche, during a cash-intransit robbery.

A month later, he was sentenced to a further two years imprisonment on two counts of escaping from custody and he was in November 2000 given a further 15-year term for robbing a bank.

He had four previous convictions for theft and possession of stolen property. Qaqa claimed the minister had not followed proper procedure in considering his parole, that the decision was irrational and unreasonable and that the court should order his release on parole.

As a prisoner sentenced to a life term before the new Correctional Services Act came into effect in October 2004, Qaqa was entitled to have his parole date advanced by credits earned – in his case six years and eight months.

In terms of an implementation plan adopted by correctional services, the minimum detention period for lifers sentenced before October 1, 2004, was 13 years and eight months.

Judge Tati Makgoka said one of the key requirements in the parole manual was that the judgment on sentence should be considered in a parole decision, but in Qaqa’s case the parole board, national council and minister for some reason considered his case without a copy of the judgment on sentence before them. –