Cape Town – Ministers in the security cluster are reviewing bail laws to make it difficult for the courts to release suspected criminals.
This is part of a new drive by President Jacob Zuma to crack down on crime following complaints by people and communities that criminals were too easily released by the courts.
Senior official in the Department of Justice advocate JB Skosana confirmed to the media on Sunday that Minister of Justice Michael Masutha would draft new, stringent bail laws.
He said the call by Zuma to tighten up the law on criminals related to bail legislation.
Zuma told the National House of Traditional Leaders on Friday that he wanted tougher laws – and that his security cluster would have to come up with these laws.
Zuma said that during his visits to Nyanga, Soshanguve and other areas, he had been told by police officers that they would arrest suspected criminals, who were then released by the courts.
Zuma said something needed to be done to address this situation. He promised traditional leaders that new laws were on the cards.
Skosana, the deputy director-general for court services in the Justice Department, said Masutha had started a process to strengthen bail legislation.
The intention appears to be to limit the grounds on which bail can be granted.
Other issues that needed to be looked into before bail was granted included national security, the concerns of the community and the concerns of the victims.
Skosana said bail legislation did not take these issues into account. He said Masutha was engaging with Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the judiciary on these matters.
The criminal justice system must look at the entire value chain of the justice system when handling issues of bail, said Skosana.
He would not say when the new bail law would be ready for discussion in the cabinet and tabled in the national legislature.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo said communities in Nyanga and Soshanguve had raised concerns about these matters when Zuma visited these areas.
He said it would be fair and reasonable to review what was working and what was not working after 22 years of democracy. He said it was important to tighten up certain laws to ensure the government dealt with crime and corruption.
Political Bureau/Iol News