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PRISONER'S BID FOR CONJUGAL-RIGHTS VISITS DISMISSED

Boeremag member Dr Wilhelm Pretorius has failed to get monthly three-hour conjugal visits with his wife. Pretorius (41) is being held at the Zonderwater Correctional Facility in Tshwane, where he has been imprisoned since July 2014.


He was part of a group of people who stood trial in the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) and was convicted of high treason and other related crimes, notes TimesLIVE. He was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment in 2013. Pretorius became engaged to his current wife in February 2017, and he married her in July that year.


Before getting married, Pretorius and his then fiancée expressed the desire to have children. They engaged with the Correctional Services Department with a view to securing the necessary permission to have access to the technology of artificial insemination to enable them to attempt to have a child. The request was initially refused in January 2018, but the decision was reversed two months later. Pretorius' wife fell pregnant, and a child was born.


In the application before the High Court, Pretorius asked for an order that his wife be allowed to visit him in prison for private marriage visits once a month. Judge Jody Kollapen dismissed Pretorius' application. 'I find that our law does not expressly recognise a right to a conjugal visit, nor can the constitution be interpreted to provide support for the existence of such a right which is inconsistent with the notion of incarceration,' Kollapen said. He said while both international human rights law as well as South Africa’s own human rights framework and commitment provides for the right of prisoners to have contact with a spouse, partner or next of kin, there appeared to be no express self-standing right of prisoners to conjugal visits.

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