The release of Alison Botha’s attackers indicates a deterioration of the legal system and especially correctional services, the DA said on Thursday.
Botha, who survived a gruesome attack by Theuns Botha and Frans Kruger 29 years ago, was moreover not informed of the men’s parole release.
RNews reported earlier that Kruger and Du Toit, who raped and almost cut Botha’s throat at the time, were released on parole on Tuesday.
“This indicates the deterioration of the criminal justice system and especially the department of correctional services because Botha was not properly consulted before the decision was made,” says Jahno Engelbrecht, the DA’s spokesperson on correctional services.
“According to information available to us, the release also took place without any deliberation with or consideration of the individuals who objected to it.”
Botha was attacked in 1994 by Kruger and Du Toit. They raped her and then stabbed her 37 times with knives. The men were free on bail at the time of the attack after being arrested earlier in connection with another rape incident.
“This is a clear indication that these attackers are a danger to society. Their release from prison this week is a threat to Alison and every other woman in South Africa’s safety,” says Engelbrecht.
“At the sentencing (at the time), Judge Chris Jansen referred to the two men as ‘inherently evil’ and sentenced them to life imprisonment, with the recommendation that they never be granted parole. Judge Jansen further indicated that if the death penalty had been an option, it would have been the sentencing based on the seriousness of their crimes.”
According to information that the DA obtained in a parliamentary question to Ronald Lamola, minister of justice and correctional services, it is a legal requirement to consult with victims of crimes such as rape before a decision is made on parole.
“The failure to inform Botha sufficiently and in time about her right to make representations before the decision was taken to grant parole is simply unacceptable.
“The fact that correctional services deemed it acceptable to release two dangerous men without consulting Alison is an indication of the failure of South Africa’s criminal justice system.”
According to Engelbrecht, the then release of convicted murderer and rapist Thabo Bester on parole – after which he raped two women – as well as the release of Jacob Zuma on medical parole, are just two examples of the abuse of the parole system.
“It is clear that the department and the minister have not learned any lessons from the monumental debacle of the Bester escape, and continue to operate without any consideration of how their actions affect citizens.
“The Department of Correctional Services should immediately review its parole decision, and properly speak with Alison and her family members about the terms of this parole release.”