- Minister says the convicts cannot be pardoned as this will set a bad precedence
- Over 6000 did not pay admission of guilt
The Assistant Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration Dumezweni Mthimkhulu has poured scorn on the Members of Parliament (MP’s) plea to have the 6185 COVID-19 regulations violators pardoned.
This comes after a total of 6185 COVID-19 regulations violators were found guilty before the courts following their charges. Dismissing the MP’s plea in Parliament Mthimkhulu said that the government will not pardon the convicts as doing so will set a bad precedence to other offenders. The Assistant Minister said it is impossible to ask the Presidential pardon for the offenders as a group, as each has a peculiar case though they all involve violation of COVID-19 protocols. “In terms of sanctions there are procedures of the law that have to be adhered to, and these are processes that are followed as part of the consequences. Moreover, the laid down principles of law have to apply across all offenders. Therefore, other than that we will be setting a bad precedence to other offenders. It is worth noting that there are lot of criminal’s offenders who also want to be pardoned, therefore once we pardon those who contravened the regulation the latter will also ask for the same treatment,” Mthimkhulu told Parliament.
The Assistant Minister added that they will not consider advising President Mokgweetsi Masisi to pardon all those who contravened the COVID-19 regulations, adding that individuals are at liberty to lodge their requests personally for Presidential pardon. “President, relying on Section 53 of the Constitution, and in exercise of his executive powers may pardon any person convicted of any criminal offence after considering all relevant factors,” Mthimkhulu stated.
Mthimkhulu was answering Parliamentary question posed by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Kanye South Thapelo Letsholo who wanted to know whether it is possible to pardon the violators, some of whom are first time offenders and some are breadwinners whose contravention was purely out of desperate life circumstances.
Mthimkhulu had indicated that 261 168 people were dealt with for contravening COVID-19 regulations. Out of this number 6212 violators did not pay admission of guilty and had their cases registered before courts. To date the Assistant Minister indicated that 6185 violators have been found guilty.
In support of the plea were Mahalapye west MP David Tshere, Ghanzi South MP Sam Brooks and Takatokwane MP Friction Leuwe. The MPs argued that since COVID-19 regulations were specifically made to curb the disease during its peak period, the government should consider pardoning them as the regulations are no longer in use.