Waterkloof 2 consider options

2013-06-13 16:30

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Johannesburg - Two of the so-called "Waterkloof 4" were considering their options on Thursday after being ordered to return to prison, their lawyer said.

The two were released under correctional supervision 18 months ago.

On Wednesday, three judges in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria ordered Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk - who have each served just under three-and-a-half years in jail - to return to Zonderwater Prison in Cullinan on 10 July.

Their lawyer Jenny Brewis said the judgment was expected in view of the way similar legal issues were dealt with a week before in the Western Cape High Court.

"We were not surprised by the outcome. We anticipated it. In terms of high court procedure, we may file an appeal within a specific period of time."

She said an appeal was being considered but a final decision had not been made as to whether they would go ahead, or on what grounds.

"We are still perusing the judgment and looking at what options we have," said Brewis.

Earlier, correctional services department chief deputy commissioner James Smalberger welcomed the decision.

"We have taken this matter to court on the principled basis, meaning that we were of the view that the parole board erred by not referring the matter to court because it was before time," he said.

Referred to court

Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk, together with Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, each received 12 years in prison after murdering a man in a Pretoria park in 2001.

Smalberger said legislation stated one could not be referred to court when the sentence expiry date was more than five years in the future.

"They were referred prematurely to the court for conversion," he said.

Van Schalkwyk and Tiedt began serving their sentence on 11 August 2008 with their release date being 11 August 2020.

Therefore, they were only eligible in 2015 to be referred for conversion, he said.

Smalberger said the department, following a disciplinary process, had dismissed the chairpersons of the case management committee and parole board respectively on 22 August and 3 September last year, due to their "wrongdoings".

In another statement later on Thursday, he said: "Upon their return to Zonderwater Correctional Centre they will merely continue to serve their sentences as if [they had] not [been] released."

A full bench of judges set aside district Magistrate Peet Johnson's ruling of 15 December 2011, to convert the men's prison term to correctional supervision.

An application had been brought by the minister and the correctional services department commissioner to set aside Johnson's order.

- SAPA
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