Waterkloof Four: Prison bosses must explain or face jail

2011-12-16 15:50

The North Gauteng High Court has ordered the immediate release of two of the Waterkloof Four and ordered those responsible for keeping them behind bars to show reasons why they shouldn’t be jailed for ignoring a court order.

In a dramatic turn of events today, the court ordered the Minister of Correctional Services to release both Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk, who were both granted parole by the Pretoria Regional Court on Thursday.

But the interim order goes even further, saying that Tozamile Tana, the area commisioner of Correctional Services, and Tivani Makasane, head of Medium B Section of the Zonderwater Prison, will have to explain to the court in January why they did not release the two men, or they may themselves face thirty days in jail.

Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk on Thursday had the remainder of their 12-year prison sentences converted to correctional supervision by a magistrate’s court, but the department of correctional services later refused to release them.

According to media reports, the department had sent a copy of the court judgment to its lawyers for them to study because there were problems with it.

The men’s lawyer, Jenny Brewis, told Beeld that she had been told by prison authorities that an instruction not to release the men had come “from above”.

Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk, together with Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, were sentenced to twelve year’s imprisonment for assaulting one homeless man and killing another in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has lashed out at the potential release, saying the decision was “wrong in law and grossly inappropriate”.

James Selfe, DA spokesperson for correctional services, said that “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”.

The Department of Correctional Services could not immediately be reached for comment.

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