Life imprisonment in South Africa
Life imprisonment is mandatory in South Africa for offences of premeditated murder, gang rape, serial rape and rape where the rapist knew they were HIV positive or if the victim was under 18 and/or mentally disabled. In certain circumstances, robberies and hijackings also carry a mandatory life sentence.
Section 51 of South Africa's Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1997 prescribes the minimum sentences for other types of murders, rapes and robberies to 25, 15 and 10 years respectively, so parole is almost always granted to prisoners serving life sentences after the minimum sentence for the lesser crime has been served. However, a prisoner must be given a parole hearing after having served 25 years.
In special cases, life imprisonment without any possibility of parole or pardon for an extensively long period of time (such as 1,000 years) can be imposed, such as in the case of serial killer Moses Sithole.
- "Criminal Law Amendment Act 105 of 1997" (PDF). justice.gov.za. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- SS Terblanche. "Mandatory and minimum sentences: Considering s 51 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1997" (PDF). UNISA. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
- Germaner, Shane (19 January 2012). "Rape victim’s parole shock". The Star. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
New legislation came into effect last year stating that any prisoner who received a life sentence before 2004 can now apply for parole after serving at least 13 years and four months of their sentence.
- "Placement on parole and correctional supervision: How the process affects the offender" (PDF). DCS. 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2013.