MP calls for reforms to protect public servants.
Member of Parliament (MP) for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo believes people accused of committing a crime against public servants should find it harder to get bail.
When debating Bail Bill, 2023, Bill No. 19 of 2023 in Parliament, Letsholo argued that special consideration should be given to some public servants such as nurses, teachers and police officers who sacrifice their lives daily serving the community.
“Crimes against these dedicated individuals should be treated with exceptional care when it comes to bail decisions,” he emphasized.
“Nurses, teachers, police officers, and many such others in the public sector commit themselves to the well-being and safety of our communities, yet their dedication often comes at the cost of modest wages and sometimes dangerous working conditions,” Letsholo highlighted.
The MP said crimes committed against these essential workers should not be treated lightly. He called for a provision that gives Judges and Magistrates the discretion to consider the victim’s occupation and the nature of the crime when deciding whether bail should be granted.
In a move to further ensure compliance with bail conditions, the MP proposed that the breach of bail and failure to appear at trial should be designated as criminal offenses, except when a reasonable excuse can be established.
This, he argued, would serve as a powerful incentive for individuals on bail to honor their obligations, including court appearances.
He also called for electronic monitoring of those out on bail, arguing it is a cheaper alternative to incarceration and allows non-violent offenders to remain in the community while still being closely supervised.
“There should be integration of electronic monitoring, such as electronic tagging, as a condition of bail. This technological enhancement would help secure an individual’s compliance with bail requirements, including stay-away orders. Electronic monitoring, facilitated through ankle tags or similar devices, acts as a formidable deterrent against individuals attempting to flee while on bail. Real-time tracking enables authorities to significantly reduce the risk of flight,” he explained.