13th October 2015
Dear Ms Nkoana-Mashabane,
We are writing on behalf of all the South African families who have family members incarcerated in several foreign countries on drug related charges. As you probably are aware, that besides Ghana and Naples the South African Government is the ONLY other country in the world that refuses to sign Prisoner Transfer Agreements (hereafter referred to as “PTA”) with foreign countries where our citizens are held.
In 1996 the Late President Mandela instructed his government to start negotiations with foreign countries, but when Mbeki became president in 1999 he appointed Jackie Selebi as Director General of Foreign Affairs and when he came to hear of this he immediately stopped all further negotiations. As we know he was later promoted as the International President of Interpol. The drug lord Glen Agliotti was his friend; Selebi was found guilty and sent to prison. It was Mandela’s wish that all our citizens have the right to complete the remainder of their sentences in their country of origin so that they can be supported by their families, but sadly this has not yet become a reality. (See attachment, note 4.3)
We have been lobbying our government for more than 10 years to enter into PTA without any success. Recently the Department of International Relation and Cooperation stated that they do not see any benefit in it for South Africa.
There are many benefits of a PTA. These include, inter alia:
ECONOMIC BENEFITS: The transfer of foreign nationals currently incarcerated in South African prisons. It is costing the SA taxpayer over a BILLION RAND annually to accommodate them.
REHABILITATION BENEFITS: South African taxpayer’s revenue would be better used to rehabilitate and reintegrate our own citizens incarcerated inside South Africa. It is almost impossible to work towards reintegration if the prisoner is held in a foreign prison without contact with his family.
INVESTIGATIVE BENEFITS: For every SA citizen arrested abroad on drug related charges there is a recruiter and drug lord walking free and continuing with such recruitment and criminal planning. The alleged crimes all originated on South African soil.
HUMANITARIAN BENEFITS: Some of the South Africans incarcerated abroad for drug smuggling are, in fact, victims of human trafficking. HUMAN TRAFFICKING as defined by the Act No.7 of 2013 Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 2013
As we celebrated World Day against Death Penalty our thoughts go out the family of Janice Linden who was executed December 2011 in China and we felt our government did not do enough to have her sentence commuted to life; instead they said ‘at least this will not affect our trade with China’.
We want to bring to your attention that of two South African citizens Deon Cornelius and Letitia Bosman who were arrested on drug related charges in Malaysia and have since being handed down the death sentence. On the 1st October 2015 Deon lost his appeal case against the death penalty and Letitia is waiting for a date for her appeal case. The youngest South African girl held in Malaysia, was 16 years old at the time of her arrest. She was arrested on 4th October 2013.
We believe that everyone has a right to life and the use of the death penalty is incompatible with International Law and always entails Human Rights violations, affecting both the individuals who have been convicted and those who are close to them.
We encourage the families to work with the various Law Enforcement Agencies in South Africa so that the recruiters and the drug lords can be arrested but again our authorities have no interest to do any investigations. In the past 20 years there has only being one investigation which lead to the arrest and conviction of Sheryl Cwele (recruiter) the then Minister of Intelligence wife and Frank Nabolisa the drug lord.
The human trafficking bill was signed into law on 29th July 2013 and the date of commencement 7th August 2015.
Attached hereby, see the version of South Africa’s law in Human Trafficking.
Since it is a new Act, it will have to stand the scrutiny of South African Courts, interpretation and appeal processes.
This will lead to lengthy court processes.
For now, the death penalty is tearing families apart.
We call on you to give the above mentioned thought.
We ALL have a duty to uphold the human dignity and well-being of our citizens.
Patricia Gerber – Director
LOCKED UP – 2ND CHANCES FOR SA’S (in)MATES
Section 21 Reg No: 2008/011461/08
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