Press Releases
Press Releases

18 October 2021

Press Release by: Betzi Pierce, CEO of NICRO
Release: Immediate

Elton Vincent Minto, 39, found himself on the wrong side of the law after committing a crime that was set to destroy his future.

“In 2002 I was using mandrax and alcohol to cope after I made a girl pregnant. I was a top student but I lost my bursary because of the pregnancy. It was as though my whole life was shattered,” said Elton.    
After a night of drinking at a tavern, Elton took the keys to his brother’s work vehicle without consent. He ended up wrecking the vehicle in an accident, while under the influence of alcohol. Things took a turn for the worse when both his brother and the company he worked for, laid charges of vehicle theft against Elton.     
“I feared prison. Having grown up in a gang-ridden violent area, in Arcadia, in Bethelsdorp, Gqeberha [I always heard people say ‘tronk is nie jou ma se huis nie’.] I knew that if you went to prison, you would be sodomised,” Elton said.    
At court in Gelvendale, Elton was referred to NICRO for diversion, instead of being sentenced to incarceration.   

Diversion refers to diverting a person accused of committing a crime away from formal court procedures towards a more constructive and positive solution. The aim is to give offenders accused of less serious, non-violent crimes a second chance to address the root causes of the criminal behaviour through an appropriate diversion programme or intervention.  

“It gives the court more options to address the criminogenic needs of offenders, to change their behaviour and reduce the risk of the re-offending. Diversion will not be considered if the interests of the criminal justice system, and society, are better served by prosecution and conviction” said Betzi Pierce, CEO of NICRO.     

“We worked through what caused me to make those bad choices. We also had group sessions where our socio-economic problems were discussed” Elton said. After attending the diversion service with NICRO for six months, Elton had to appear in court where all charges were withdrawn, as a result, he has no criminal record.   
In 2008, Elton began working for Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMB) as a lab attendant. Two years later he was elected as shop steward. Today, he remains active in addressing the issues that his community faces and have been published in the Herald newspaper for his activism.    
“I’ve met with MMC Annette Lovemore, to discuss community issues, and I’ve engaged with many other political leaders in the NMB Municipality”, said Elton. Most importantly, he was able to raise his son and take care of his family. 
“I feel that first-time offenders need guidance and this type of intervention. I do not know what would have happened to me or my family if I went to prison. NICRO saved my life,” Elton said.