Mandela rules adopted for prisoners

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, with Correctional Services Western Cape Regional Commissioner, Jack Kalss, outside the house where Nelson Mandela spent the last 14 months of his incarceration. Picture: NORMAN MCFARLANE

The Nelson Mandela Rules for Prisoners, first adopted by the United Nations General Assembly as Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners in 1955 and revised and renamed in 2015, were formally adopted by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, at a Mandela Month event at Drakenstein Correctional Centre in Paarl on Tuesday July 24.

The event formed part of the celebration of former President Mandela’s centenary birthday at the prison, formerly Victor Verster Prison, where Mr Mandela spent the final 14 months of his incarceration, in a house in the prison grounds, until his release on February 11

During his address, Mr Masutha noted that although the rules are not legally binding, they have the potential to improve the lives of those behind bind bars.

“They will provide a comprehensive and powerful guide that will enable us to implement our laws, including our own constitution here and elsewhere more effectively and in a more coordinated way, for the betterment of quality of life of our inmates,” Mr Masutha said.

Mr Masutha and a number of other dignitaries present, including National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, and Public Protector, Busiswe Mkhwebane, visited the house where Mr Mandela lived from December 7, 1988 until his release.