Free after 6 years

2014-02-12 00:00

FASHIONABLY clad and with muscles bulging from the prison gym, Christoff Becker rode off to his new-found freedom on the back of a shiny black motorbike yesterday.

Becker, one of the so-called Waterkloof Four, pumped the air with a triumphant “Yes!” as he walked out of the Department of Correctional Services’ building in Pretoria yesterday.

Becker, Reinach Tiedt, Gert van Schalkwyk and Frikkie du Preez were released on parole yesterday.

They had each received 12-year sentences in January 2007 in the Pretoria regional court for charges including murder.

Correctional Services confirmed their parole at the end of January.

The four have served half their sentences and in terms of legislation they could serve parole until their sentences end in 2019.

Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk had been held at the Zonderwater prison near Cullinan.

Becker and Du Preez served their sentences at the Kgosi Mampuru (former Pretoria Central) prison.

After a long wait of more than five hours Tiedt was the first to walk to his freedom at 12.32 pm.

Tiedt was wearing a light blue shirt and formal dark pants and walked alone to the parking area across the street where a family member was waiting for him.

He thanked journalists in passing, but told them he was not allowed to talk to them.

Becker came out of the building at 12.43 pm and immediately drew all the attention. “I cannot say anything now, sorry,” Becker said.

His best friend, Francois Lubbe (30) and his father, Dr Christoff Becker, former principal of Hoërskool Waterkloof, had visited him for the last time in prison on Sunday and took the clothes he was wearing yesterday.

“I am ecstatic. These five, six years felt like forever,” Lubbe said while he and eight other friends waited outside the building for Becker and Du Preez.

Lubbe and Jean van der Schyff (24), another school friend of Becker, had made a banner with the word: “Welkom terug Chrissie en Frikkie. Sit, sit ons maak tee” (Welcome back, sit sit, we are making tea) with a photo of the four actors in the movie The Hangover.

“Today is their day. We are going to serve them,” Lubbe explained.

Becker and Du Preez went to Lubbe’s home with other mates to celebrate their parole with a braai. Becker’s mother, Mariëtte, said: “I am really glad”.

Just after Becker had ridden off on the pillion seat of the motorbike, Gert van Schalkwyk walked out of the building with his fiancée Monique Grové at 1.04 pm. He pulled a large suitcase on wheels behind him. “Do you really think I will talk to you after 12 years,” he told Beeld.

Du Preez walked out last. He had on a white Guess shirt and black Aviator sunglasses. He smiled broadly when he saw the media outside the building. His mother followed shortly behind him and also said they could not talk to the media.

Du Preez and his friend Gert Labuschagne hugged before he and his mother walked to their car.

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