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Lamola in talks with heads of prisons to revisit bail bids of 5,000 inmates

This is in an effort to alleviate the congestion in jails during the COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE: Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola. Picture: @RonaldLamola/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said his department was in talks with heads of prisons to have the bail applications of about 5,000 awaiting trial inmates revisited.

This is in an effort to alleviate the congestion in jails during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, the president approved the decision to have the parole of about 19,000 low-risk prisoners fast-tracked to curb the spread of the virus in prisons.

On Tuesday, Lamola said the parole board was already attending to individual cases and some inmates had already been freed.

He said they were also addressing the issue of awaiting trial prisoners who were granted bail but couldn't afford it.

“The ones that have bail, which were granted by magistrates, are 5,000. But those are the numbers that cannot afford the bail. So, those are the numbers we are looking at in terms of Section 63 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act for our various heads of centres so that they cannot again apply.”