Quote of the week

Universal adult suffrage on a common voters roll is one of the foundational values of our entire constitutional order. The achievement of the franchise has historically been important both for the acquisition of the rights of full and effective citizenship by all South Africans regardless of race, and for the accomplishment of an all-embracing nationhood. The universality of the franchise is important not only for nationhood and democracy. The vote of each and every citizen is a badge of dignity and of personhood. Quite literally, it says that everybody counts. In a country of great disparities of wealth and power it declares that whoever we are, whether rich or poor, exalted or disgraced, we all belong to the same democratic South African nation; that our destinies are intertwined in a single interactive polity.

Justice Albie Sachs
August and Another v Electoral Commission and Others (CCT8/99) [1999] ZACC 3
22 November 2022

Con Court on Walus parole

The Minister said, among other things, that “in the light of the nature of the crime [the applicant] committed and in the light of the sentence remarks by the trial court and the Supreme Court of Appeal, [to release the applicant on parole] will negate their remarks that the offender’s atrocious crime demands the severest punishment which the law permits”. (Emphasis added). The severest punishment that a prisoner may serve in South Africa is a life imprisonment where he or she is not granted parole. This could happen in a case, for example, where a prisoner is such that he or she does not meet the requirements for parole. In this regard one could think of a prisoner who commits offences while in prison itself or who is always causing trouble in prison and does not show signs of rehabilitation.

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