Two of the Waterkloof Four ordered to be released
The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has ordered the correctional services department to release two of the Waterkloof Four into house arrest.
The department was also instructed to appear in court in January to explain why it ignored the Pretoria Regional Court’s order on Thursday for the release of Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt.
According to SABC news they were to be released from Zonderwater Prison but were stopped at the front gate and taken back inside.
Spokesperson Zacharia Modise confirmed on Friday that the Pretoria Regional Court had granted the two parole, but they were still in jail.
“The department will study the ruling and in due course we will let our decision on it be known”, Modise said.
Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt were due to be released under strict conditions. The two would be under house arrest and had been ordered to perform 15 hours of community service a month, according to the department.
Van Schalkwyk’s stepfather Jimmy Stonehouse said the department had not followed through on what it said.
“The department said that they must be released but they weren’t. I don’t know what to say because I don’t know what is going on and why this is happening,” Stonehouse said.
Teidt’s father Chris, waited outside the correctional services office in Pretoria for six hours on Thursday before the office closed for the day, the Star newspaper reported.
Ruling applies to all four
Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk were among a group of four boys convicted of killing a homeless man and assaulting another at a park in Pretoria in 2001. They were each sentenced to 12 years in jail.
Reports on Friday suggested that the legal representatives for all four were filing an urgent high court appeal for their release but Modise said he was not aware of the appeal.
He said the department was looking into the release of the four before making a decision.
“We are looking at the ruling as it applies to all four,” Modise said.
On Thursday, Stonehouse said he did not know whether Christoff Bekker and Frikkie du Preez, who make up the remaining members of the Waterkloof Four, would also be placed under house arrest.
“They are being kept in a separate prison, so I don’t know what the situation with them is.”
DA MP James Selfe said the decision to release the two and place them under house arrest was made after the chairperson of the Zonderwater parole board was told by the department that the recommendation was unlawful.
“In terms of a previous court decision, conversions of sentences can only occur if an inmate has less than five years remaining of his or her sentence”, Selfe said.
“Both the recommendation of the parole board and the decision of the [Pretoria Regional] Court, were therefore wrong and should be set aside.”—Sapa