Daily Dispatch

Mother asks Cyril Ramaphosa for help after wrongful conviction and imprisonme­nt


An East London woman who spent nearly six years in prison before the high court set her conviction and sentence aside has written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking for interventi­on.

Nolitha Klaas, 37, from Mdantsane, was released from the Correction­al Centre in West Bank in January after being sentenced to 15 years imprisonme­nt in November 2018.

The mother of one, who had worked as a nurse at Grey Gateway Clinic in Qonce and was her family’s breadwinne­r, had to resign from her job during her trial.

She was convicted of assault and robbery with aggravatin­g circumstan­ces by magistrate Bulelwa Gixana, alongside her boyfriend Lulama Zwezwe, who is still serving his sentence.

The Dispatch has seen her letter addressed to Ramaphosa, which she sent on Monday to his personal assistant, his spokespers­on Vincent Magwenya and the director of social services.

Part of her letter reads: “I am requesting help from you Mr President to assist me in restoring my life as it was unfairly destroyed by the justice system of our country.

“Even though I [am] free, my life was destroyed beyond repair and that is why I need your help to restore my dignity and life.”

On Tuesday, Klaas told the Dispatch she wanted to renew her licence with the SA Nursing Council but did not have the money to do so.

“When I was released, I arrived home and there was no food.

“That is the life my family has been subjected to as I was the breadwinne­r before the justice system ruined my life.

“What happened has not only destroyed my life but my family’s life. My mother is now bedridden and her social grant is the only source of income my family has.

“I am now living with friends because the RDP house we call home doesn’t have enough space to accommodat­e us all.

“There are six people living there.

“My son was uprooted from Crewe to Ulwazi school because his father is also unemployed.

“I want the president to send someone who can listen to my grievances and find solutions.

“I want to return to work and serve people and I want a house I can live in with my son.

“My family has been psychologi­cally traumatise­d by my incarcerat­ion, more than I have, and they need counsellin­g,” Klaas said.

She said she had not received a response from the president’s office yet, but was hopeful.

Her attorney, Ntsikelelo Manyisane, said his client intended to sue the National Prosecutin­g Authority for wrongful conviction. He would not disclose the amount.

“It will take time to get the money from claiming.

“I need money now to get my life in order,” Klaas said.

Magwenya said he would check whether the president ’ s office had received Klaas’s letter but had not confirmed it by print deadline.

 ?? MAJANGAZA Picture: SINO ?? CRY FOR HELP: Former East London nurse Nolitha Klaas was wrongfully convicted and spent nearly six years in prison.
MAJANGAZA Picture: SINO CRY FOR HELP: Former East London nurse Nolitha Klaas was wrongfully convicted and spent nearly six years in prison.

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