Lamola lashes parole board for not consulting victims on Bob Hewitt's parole

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has taken the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board’s decision to grant parole to convicted rapist Bob Hewitt on review.

FILE: Former South African tennis star Bob Hewitt in the Palm Ridge Magistrate's Court. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has taken the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board’s decision to grant parole to convicted rapist Bob Hewitt on review.

The former tennis coach was sentenced to six years in prison in 2015.

The minister has criticised the board for not consulting Hewitt’s victims and their families about his application to be released from prison.

Lamola’s decision to challenge the parole board comes in the wake of heightened calls for harsher punishment for perpetrators of violence against women and children.

Hewitt - now 79-years-old - was convicted for raping and sexually assaulting three youths he was coaching in tennis over 20 years ago.

The Justice Minister said it was critical that the justice system paid attention to victims.

His spokesperson Chrispin Phiri: "The minister has instructed the national Commissioner Arthur Fraser to immediately place the decision on review and the effect of that will ensure that Mr Bob Hewitt's parole is suspended until the review board is able to assess the decision."

The Correctional Services Act empowers the Justice and Correctional Services Minister to refer decisions of the parole board for review.