Restorative Justice Approach Launched by South Africa Department of Correctional Services
The Minister for Justice, Penuel Maduna, also gave a very good speech. He began with a reference to the recent tragic spat of babies being raped in South Africa. He said that the public’s response in these cases is to ask for tougher measures. Maduna stressed that we already have tough enough bail laws and sentencing laws. He emphasized that we need look further back to how it is possible that these crimes have occurred in our communities. What is need, he continued, is a moral regeneration, and he linked this idea firmly to restorative justice, which he characterized as giving communities more of a stake in the criminal justice system.
The Minister of Correctional Services also gave a very up-beat speech, which was reprinted on 9 December 2001 as a half-page advertisement in the Sunday Times – a weekly newspaper with a wide national readership. The speech can be found on the Correctional Services web-site (www.dcs.gov.za).
Two other developments of note concerning restorative justice in South Africa also took place in November.
Conference on Restorative Justice and Community Facilitation
In November a conference entitled “Restorative Justice and Community Facilitation” was hosted by the African Christian Democratic Party and funded by the Konrad Adenhauer Stiftung. The conference was not party political with speakers and attendees representing a range of political backgrounds, different faiths and secular organizations. Speakers included Steve Swart, Jabu Sishuba, David Kgosimore, Jody Kollapen, Ann Skelton, and Shimmy Kotu. This conference combined an overview of restorative justice theory with practical examples from working projects. It brought together a range of academicians, government employees, politicians, and practitioners.
Law Commission Proposals on Child Justice Now A Government Bill
Another final piece of news is that on 21 November 2001 the South African Cabinet approved the Child Justice Bill for introduction into parliament in the first session of next year. This once again shows the South African government’s commitment to restorative justice policy as the Bill is based firmly on restorative justice principles. The Bill must still be debated in parliament, and restorative justice advocates in South Africa are preparing to participate in public debates to ensure that the restorative justice aspects underpinning the Bill are retained.
by Ann Skelton