Waterkloof parole unlawful - DA
Johannesburg - The decision to grant parole to two of the "Waterkloof Four" is unlawful and must be appealed, the Democratic Alliance said on Friday.
DA MP James Selfe said the decision to release the two and place them under house was made after the chairperson of the Zonderwater parole board was told by the department of correctional services that the recommendation was unlawful.
"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," Selfe said.
"Both the recommendation of the parole board and the decision of the [Pretoria Regional] Court, were therefore wrong and should be set aside."
Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt were scheduled to be released from Zonderwater Prison after being granted parole on Thursday.
Still in jail
Department of correctional services spokesperson Zacharia Modise confirmed on Friday, that the Pretoria Regional Court had granted the two parole, but they still remained in jail.
"The department will study the ruling, and in due course we will let our decision on it be known," Modise said.
Selfe said he had spoken to the department, who assured him its legal advisers were studying the court's judgment with a view to appeal it.
"Those board members who voted for the decision ought to be held personally liable for the legal costs of the appeal," he said.
Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk were among a group of four boys convicted of killing a homeless man and assaulting another at a park in Pretoria in 2001. They were each sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
Reports on Friday suggested that the legal representatives for all four were filing an urgent High Court appeal for their release, but Modise said he was not aware of the appeal.
Selfe said the other two members of the "Waterkloof Four", Christoff Bekker and Frikkie du Preez, also needed their sentences converted, if the ruling were to go through.
"If a group of offenders are sentenced for the same crime and given the same sentence, all of them qualify for conversion of sentence at the same time," Selfe said.
"The two remaining offenders... are now in legal limbo... they ought to have been considered at the same time as the other two. It's a legal mess."
On Thursday, Van Schalkwyk's stepfather, Jimmy Stonehouse, said he was not aware if Bekker and Du Preez would also be placed under house arrest.
"They are being kept in a separate prison, so I don't know what the situation with them is."