/ 27 December 2011

Waterkloof Four appeal due next week

January 6 is the deadline by which an appeal will be lodged against the ruling which allowed two of the Waterkloof Four to be released under house arrest, the department of correctional services said on Tuesday.

The department would follow the legal framework which allows a request for a review to be lodged within 14 working days after a ruling is made, said the department’s deputy commissioner Zacharia Modise.

On December 15, the Zonderwater Parole Board commuted Gert Van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt’s sentences into house arrest instead of a prison term. An appeal must thus be lodged by next Friday.

“Correctional services is going to appeal the court ruling according to which the Waterkloof two were released last week,” said Modise on Tuesday.

Van Schalkwyk and Tiedt were imprisoned along with Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez in 2008 for killing a homeless man and assaulting another at a park in Pretoria in 2001.

Bekker and Du Preez, who are serving their sentences in Pretoria Central, had not been released.

‘No word’
On Tuesday, Modise said that “there is no word” on whether or not the two would apply for a commutation of sentence. He said the department would “obviously” oppose such an application if it came about.

He said contrary to media reports the department was not going to hold a press briefing about the Waterkloof Four on Tuesday.

A wrangle between the department and the courts followed after the Pretoria Regional Court ordered that Tiedt and Schalkwyk be released from prison earlier this month.

The two had served three years of their 12 year sentence.

Last week, the lawyer for the two released prisoners said that she considered their subsequent release under correctional supervision as finalised and with no scope for an appeal.

“It wasn’t me that brought this about. Do they want to appeal against themselves? How do they want to appeal against themselves?” lawyer Jenny Brewis said in reaction to the department of correctional services’ statement that it wanted to appeal the decision by the Zonderwater parole board.

She said that she was of the opinion that “the matter is finalised”.

The commuting of the sentence as recommended by the parole board and confirmed by the courts was not an action that her clients had undertaken, but had been carried out by the department itself, said Brewis.

She said, therefore, she did not believe that there was any scope for the department to make an appeal. — Sapa