The victims of convicted rapist and former tennis star Bob Hewitt will be given an opportunity to make representations to have his release on parole overturned.
According to Tania Koen, the lawyer who represented two of the three survivors, a date has been set for October 21.
On September 15, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola instructed National Commissioner of Correctional Services Arthur Fraser to review the decision to release Hewitt on parole.
This, after it was reported that a letter from the chairperson of the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board for St Albans – a Ms CC Binta – stated that Hewitt would be released on September 23.
The letter explained that “when an offender has served the minimum detention period of his/her sentence, he/she qualifies to be considered by the Correctional Supervision and Parole Board for placement on parole”.
This decision followed an application to the board on August 13, 2019.
Hewitt, 79, was convicted of the rape of two young women and the sexual assault of another whom he coached in the 1980s and 1990s. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
Koen said she and law firm Eversheds-Sutherland, which represents one of the victims, received a notice from the department of correctional services on October 4 that an “extension has been granted” by the head office for representations on October 14.
“They only gave five business days’ notice, which is inadequate and unreasonable as it does not give sufficient time for our clients to prepare and make arrangements to personally appear if they chose to do so,” Koen said.
She wrote to the department on October 7 stating that the proceedings were not an “extension”, but a review and that the amount of time given to prepare representations was unreasonable.
Koen said the legal teams needed to review copies of the parole proceedings which they had not received to date.
“On October 8, I approached Deputy Minister of Correctional Services Nkosi Phathekile Holomisa, who then instructed Fraser to furnish us with the necessary information and be given an extension to prepare.”
Koen spoke to Holomisa on Friday morning, who confirmed that the matter had been extended to October 21.
But Koen said all they had so far was a date.
“We’ve received nothing in writing. We don’t know yet what they want us to make representations on. We’re waiting for the written correspondence.
“At least the date has been extended,” she said.
Neither Holomisa nor correctional services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo could be reached for comment.