It's not about innocence or guilt. It's about HUMANITY.
The answer is NO! Let me say that again, in case you didn't GET IT...
NO. South Africa does NOT have an Agreement with any country in the world!
A Prisoner Exchange Treaty, or Prisoner Transfer Agreement is an agreement between countries where incarcerated citizens can be extradited. Extradition means that a prisoner on foreign soil can appeal to be sent home to serve their time in his/her own country. South Africa is one of only two countries in the world who do not have a Treaty in place!
We hear it time and time again, spoken with gusto and pride ...
"South Africa has one of the most advanced Constitutions in the world!"
So what gives with this 'no treaty' thing ?!?!?!?!
VARIOUS INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS:
THE RIGHT OF FAMILIES TO VISIT THEIR LOVED ONES IN PRISON IS ENSHRINED IN VARIOUS INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS TO WHICH SOUTH AFRICA IS A PARTY!
THE CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT:
Section 30 of the Correctional Services Act 1959 (Act no. 8 of 1959) provides that the Minister of Correctional Services may enter into agreements accepting prisoners from foreign States. Although the Correctional Services Act of 1959 is repealed by the Correctional Services Act of 1998 (Act no. 111 of 1998) section 30 of the said Correctional Services Act 1959 is still operational.
DIPLOMATIC PROTECTION (INTERNATIONAL LAW)
DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:
In June 1999, the then Director General of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jackie Selebi sent out a SRA advising that the Department will no longer sign treaties that encourage the transfer of convicted South Africans abroad. This followed upon the Director General becoming aware of Prisoner Transfer Agreements being discussed by the Department. In this regard discussions were taking place with the Governments of Brazil and India.
FORMER MINISTER OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES:
Minister Ben M Skosana MP, former Minister of Correctional Services stated to a Parliamentary Media briefing on the 13 February 2004 as follows: "The Department is considering the development of policy guidelines to enable Government to enter into Prisoner Transfer Agreements with other countries. This policy advocates for the return of prisoners sentenced in foreign countries to enable them to complete their sentences closer to their families and the societies they will be released to. This effects both South Africans in foreign prisons as well as foreigners in South African prisons".
LAWYERS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:
The National Director of Lawyers for Human Rights, Jacob van Garderen, believes that the government's refusal to enter into Prisoner Transfer Agreements with other countries goes against the principles of the South African Constitution, which lays out that South Africans are entitled to Diplomatic Protection. 'In other words, the government must take steps to protect citizens against gross human rights violations.
'In terms of Section 35(2) of the South African Constitution, every prisoner has the right to detention conditions that are consistent with human dignity, which includes the right to communicate with and be visited by spouses and children. Because of the cost involved, most families of prisoners being held overseas can't exercise this right.'
The refusal to assist in bringing prisoners back to South Africa also 'undermines the government's objectives to reintegrate offenders back into society after serving their sentences,' says van Garderen. 'This is one the most primary objectives of the Correctional system in South Africa, but it could be argued that it's almost impossible to work towards reintegration if the prisoner is held in a foreign prison without contact with his family.' It's partly because of this that Patricia Gerber, whose son Johann is serving a nine year sentence in Mauritius after being sentenced in 2007 for bringing heroin into that country, has taken the government to court.
Multi-Lateral Tranfer Agreement
It is no secret that a Multi-Lateral Transfer Agreement exists and is used by many countries the world over. South Africa cannot even justify their refusal by saying it will take time to compile this document... IT ALREADY EXISTS... ALL we need is ONE SIGNATURE on that document to include South Africa YET The South African Government is refusing time and again to sign this document and join the rest of the world as a progressive country. Even the most UNDEVELOPED 3rd world countries have joined. A question directed at YOU, Mr Government Official, the same Mr Government Official who has been appointed by the people to act for the people because it's the people who ultimately pay your salary... " WHY IS SOUTH AFRICA INSISTENT ON REMAINING IN THE DARK AGES?"
We are trying to change this by lobbying the South African Government through this website and with various petitions. Please support us in bringing our people home.
Consider the following :
- Our citizens have been incarcerated in countries where English is probably not spoken.
- Our prisons might be in a shambles but you and I cannot imagine what they are experiencing every day! (the Mexican Jail in the TV series, Prison Break is probably an accurate depiction)
- By not extraditing these people, the South African Government is punishing them and their families again and again. The incarceration is the punishment, NOT the inhumane and barbaric torture.
- Human beings have a fundamental RIGHT to humane treatment, regardless of any crime.
- These are NON-VIOLENT crimes.
- They are all someone's son, daughter, mother, father, uncle, aunt...
- It could be your best friend, brother, sister... imagine it!
- In these circumstances the families need to take care of the inmate.
- Even the Josef Fritzl's, Neil Entwistle's and Robert Mugabe's of the world are treated more humanely.
Taking care of a jailed loved one overseas FINANCIALLY CRIPPLES THE FAMILIES!
Who exactly is the Government punishing?? The weak Rand requires HUGE payments to foreign countries.
"Our loved ones are being punished over and over by our own government. Refusing to bring them home and by keeping them away from their families, the South African Government is being party to these crimes against humanity. The families do not have the finance to travel and support" - Patricia Gerber: mother of Johann Gerber, currently serving 11 years in Mauritius.
WE CANNOT ABANDON OUR LOVED ONES. Come on people, these are ordinary, every day folk like you and I who may or may not have 'slipped up'. It's not about innocence or guilt. It's about HUMANITY.
Does this punishment really fit the crime?
The punishment is the incarceration... NOT the abandonment by the SA Government where the effects run deeper than just the prisoner. They rip violently through the entire family. That's barbaric!
In 2004 Ben Skosana had wanted the South Africans detained in foreign prisons and visa versa to be returned home. The white paper was drafted but was rejected by cabinet and the government."
"There are 27 South African inmates in Mauritius. They wrote and signed a petition to the then SA President, Mr Thabo Mbeki pleading for assistance. That petition resulted in severe punishment for the inmates. In another case, one young man was hung by his wrists for three days with no food, no water and no clothes over a food discrepancy!!!" - Patricia Gerber: mother of Johann Gerber, currently serving 11 years in Mauritius.
SEE THEIR PETITION HERE - PLEA FROM BEHIND PRISON WALLS (Mauritius detainees)
written 7th March 2008 (pdf 412kb)
Changes to this document include:
Add: Jan Hendrick Venter - arrested March 2008 (passed away August 2010)
Sentenced: Amanda van Wyk - 20 yrs
Sentenced: Chriscilla Schuster - 11 yrs
Sentenced: Annie Erasmus - 12 yrs
Awaiting Judgements: Stephen Wasson & Noluvuyo Ntamo (sentenced to 32 years)
We will be adding a report, written by Mrs Gerber in Feb/Mar 2008 after her visit
to Mauritius to see her son. The shocking reality (coming soon)
We will also add stories from inmates in other countries. The information is coming in
at a rapid rate, all requiring scrutiny and authentication so please bear with us as
we try to get it all together for you asap.
WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR THESE PEOPLE TO BE SET FREE.
WE ARE ASKING FOR THEM TO BE BROUGHT HOME TO SERVE THEIR TIME NEAR THEIR FAMILIES AND IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY WHERE THEIR NATIVE TONGUE IS SPOKEN.
If there are major discrepencies in their trials, they should be re-tried under their own law system. Fair Trials in London is an organization that investigates unfair trials. Johann Gerber, just 19 when he was arrested could not be assisted by Fair Trials as there is no appeal system in Mauritius but they did find discrepencies. IN OTHER WORDS, JOHANN GERBER DID NOT RECEIVE A FAIR TRIAL. HE WAS ALSO DENIED LEGAL COUNCIL.
THIS MUST CHANGE IN SOUTH AFRICA!!
It's not about innocence or guilt. It's about HUMANITY.
Please support these families by signing our petition.
PLEASE SIGN OUR PETITION