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Rashied Staggie granted parole

The former gangster has been in prison for a decade after being found guilty of kidnapping and rape.

Miles Bhudu (L),head of the South African Prisoners Organisation for Human Rights, Rashied Staggie (2ndL), leader of the Hard Living Kids gang, Pastor Alben Martins(2ndR), a reformed gangster and a church associate walk underneath the South African flag during a march to Parliament in Cape Town 22 September, 1996. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - The Breederiver parole board has granted former gangster Rashied Staggie day parole, the Western Cape Correctional Services Department confirmed on Tuesday.

Staggie has been in prison for a decade after being found guilty of kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl in 2001.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In May 2004, Staggie was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a burglary at the Faure police armoury.

The Breederiver parole board agreed to release Staggie as several of his accomplices are already free.

He will be allowed out of the Worcester prison in September, but will be strictly supervised and monitored with an electronic device.

REACTION

The National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro)'s Arina Smit said there is always hope for hardened criminals and one cannot simply give up hope.

"One has to consider the potential of human beings and believe in the fact that human beings can change."

The Western Cape Community Police Board and the People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) have expressed dismay at the decision.

The board's Hanif Loonat said he vehemently opposes Staggie's release.

"We will not promote the release of these individuals and we are not going to encourage it. The sentencing of these individuals needs to be maximised."

Pagad said it will be detrimental to society if a suspected gang leader is released on parole.

A march by Pagad in the 1990s resulted in the death of Staggie's twin brother, Rashaad.

Pagad spokesperson Haroon Orrie said he does not think Staggie will turn his life around.

"The question is, will he do it again? Is he going to get involved in the drug trade again? We feel that he is going to. Is there any justice in having him released?"

Orrie said it's a travesty of justice that some of Pagad's members are being held in prison.

"We still have brothers in prison who qualify for parole and nothing is being said about it. We are not being given the opportunity to have our brothers released on parole and here we have this person [Staggie] destroying society."

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