Correctional services to probe Waterkloof Four release

Three parole board officers and two prisons officials are part of an investigation into the release of two of the Waterkloof Four, an official said on Monday.

“All the circumstances surrounding the release of the Waterkloof two and commuting their sentence to correctional supervisions will be investigated,” correctional services spokesperson Phumlani Ximiya said.

Information on the investigation would be provided upon its completion, he said.

Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt left Zonderwater Prison on December 16 2011, three years into their 12-year sentence for the death of a homeless man in 2001.

The same sentences meted out to their co-accused, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, were not commuted.

‘Model prisoners’
The approval for their release came after parole officers successfully applied for their sentences to be commuted because they had been “model prisoners”.

Their sentences were commuted to correctional supervision with curfews and a ban on drinking alcohol. They were also supposed to undertake community service, with Van Schalkwyk cleaning the Transvaal Museum and Tiedt working at the Bronkhorstspruit police station.

However, the correctional services department did not want to release them, in spite of the Pretoria Regional Court ordering this. It was only after an order by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria the following day that they were released.

In January, the department lost an appeal of the parole board’s decision to release them.
During that application the court heard that the parole board and the department of correctional services had equal authority.

Ximiya could not immediately say whether the officials had been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.—Sapa

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