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The deaths of two Western Cape children, allegedly at the hands of two men out on parole,

has brought into sharp focus the systems used to determine who is released on parole.

Questions raised include how those who are paroled are chosen, especially those who have been convicted of gender-based violence (GBV) crimes,

and whether the rehabilitative nature of the country’s correctional services system is working.

Moyhdian Pangarker (54) has been arrested for allegedly murdering eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk from Worcester, while another parolee,

Jacobus Pistoors (53), has been arrested for allegedly murdering Reagan Gertse from Tulbagh.

Pangarker, who was arrested in Cradock in the Eastern Cape after being on the run for two weeks, was released on parole in 2016 after serving eight years of a 10-year culpable homicide conviction.

He subsequently broke his parole conditions and absconded.

Pistoors had been released on parole four months before he allegedly murdered Reagan.

He had served seven years of a 12-year sentence after being convicted of the rape of a five-year-old child.

According to media reports, Pistoors was a relative of Reagan and lived two shacks away from the young boy.

Time to re-evaluate The outcry following these incidents has led to the Minister of Justice

and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola, announcing that the department is looking at reviewing the systems parole boards use in determining who gets paroled.

“If a case of Tazne or Reagan does not give us a perspective about reforming the parole system, nothing else will.

Whilst we may argue that our parole system is flawed, but not broken,

we should not be satisfied with a system that is not predictable,” said the Minister.

He added that decision-making processes require a degree of particularity

that enables officials to predict with certainty whether offenders are equipped to reengage with society.

Parole is part of the total rehabilitation programme.

It aims to correct offending behaviour and may include the continuation of programmes

aimed at reintegration whilst in the system of community corrections.

The system not only assists with the social re-integration of offenders but also provides a monitoring mechanism to manage the risk offenders may pose to the community.

“It is worth noting that offenders do not qualify for automatic placement on parole.

A number of factors are considered by the head of the correctional centre, parole board or myself,

as the Minister, depending on the category of the crime, before placement is approved.”

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