Conviction rate at 89.9%

Jeff Radebe says busy courts and overcrowded jails show prosecutors are doing a good job.

Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe. Picture: Sapa

CAPE TOWN -Justice Minister Jeff Radebe says South Africa's overall conviction rate is 89.9 per cent, which shows prosecutors are working very hard to make sure criminals are punished.

He spoke to Talk Radio 702's Redi Tlhabi on Thursday morning a day after delivering his department's budget vote in parliament.

On Wednesday the minister said busy courts and overcrowded jails showed that prosecutors were doing a good job.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) recently came under fire for its handling of several high-profile cases including the murder of Andries Tatane.

Radebe says the quality of evidence in the Tatane case is a problem.

"The people who were accused were police and so were the witnesses. When they were booked they changed their statements to such an extent that the magistrate couldn't convict them."

But the minister insists that the NPA is winning cases in high profile matters.

"Look at the former mayor of Rustenburg who was convicted of murder. There are many people who are serving life sentences in South African prisons."