Medical parole process 'flawed'

SAPOHR believes you have to be connected in order to receive medical parole.

The SAPOHR believes you have to be connected in order to receive medical parole.

CAPE TOWN - The Correctional Services Department on Friday said only 12 inmates were released on medical parole during the first six months of 2012.

It is believed no other prisoners were released for medical reasons for the rest of the year.

Medical parole has become a thorny issue for the ministry following the release of disgraced former national police chief Jackie Selebi and Schabir Shaik.

Selebi was released on parole in 2012 on medical grounds after serving just two years of his 15-year jail term.

The criteria for medical parole were called into question in 2010 when Shaik was also freed under dubious circumstances.

The South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights Golden Miles Bhudu said the process is flawed.

"It remains a fact that you need to be connected in high places to in fact get preferential treatment."

Shaik was once President Jacob Zuma's financial adviser.

He was convicted of fraud in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

However, he was released on medical parole in 2009.