BRING ANKLE TAGS Parliament calls for electronic monitoring of on-bail criminals
Breach of bail must be a criminal offence - Letsholo
BY POTLAKO BOGATSU
Member of Parliament for Kanye North, Thapelo Letsholo, has put forth a compelling proposal that could reshape the landscape of bail laws in the country.
He was contributing in parliamentary debate on the Bail Bill, 2023 (Bill No. 19 of 2023).
His key recommendations include making the breach of bail and failure to appear at trial criminal offences, unless a reasonable excuse is provided, and integrating electronic monitoring and tagging into the legal framework.
Letsholo’s primary focus is on bolstering accountability for individuals released on bail. Currently, breaches of bail conditions and failure to appear in court can have consequences, but they do not automatically result in criminal charges.
His proposed amendment seeks to change this by making these breaches criminal acts, subject to penalties unless a valid excuse is presented.
Acknowledging the rapid evolution of technology, Letsholo emphasised the necessity of adapting legal frameworks accordingly. He proposed the incorporation of electronic monitoring, particularly through the use of ankle tags or similar devices.
This, he argued, would act as a deterrent and significantly improve compliance with bail conditions while enhancing public safety. The use of electronic monitoring allows authorities to track individuals in real-time, reducing the risk of flight, especially in cases involving violent or dangerous offenders.
By closely supervising individuals on bail, authorities can mitigate potential risks to the community, ensuring adherence to court-ordered conditions and stay-away orders.
Electronic monitoring also presents a cost-effective alternative to incarceration, enabling nonviolent offenders to remain within the community while still under close supervision. This, in turn, has the potential to alleviate the strain on correctional facilities.
Letsholo’s proposals underscore the imperative for bail laws to evolve and integrate technological innovations. These changes aim not only to enhance accountability but also to create a more efficient and responsive justice system.
In the face of rapid technological progress, the call is clear: laws must keep pace with the times to ensure justice, security, and accountability for all.