Prisons at war

2011-12-18 15:45

Pretoria - In a bizarre twist, the prisons department will on Monday appeal its own court victory to have two of the Waterkloof Four killers released under correctional supervision.

A dramatic 48 hours followed the Pretoria Regional Court’s order, on the parole board’s request, to release Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk from the Zonderwater Prison, outside Cullinan.

Tiedt, Van Schalkwyk and their two young friends assaulted a homeless man and murdered another in Pretoria in 2001.

In the hours following the court’s order:

» The department of correctional services (DCS) personally called the magistrate who issued the order, asking him to postpone the case;

» The DCS ignored a second court order, this time by the North Gauteng High Court, for the men’s release;

» High Court Judge Eben Jordaan sentenced Zonderwater’s area commissioner Tozamile Tana and prisons head Tivani Makasana to 30 days in jail for contempt of court; and

» Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk were discharged from prison and driven to the prison’s gates, before being locked up again after prison officials received “orders from above”.

Angered senior officials 

City Press understands the decision by the Zonderwater parole board, to effectively convert the killers’ 12-year sentence into house arrest, has angered senior prison officials.

They are now demanding explanations and refuse to let the men out of prison.

In 2008, Tiedt, Van Schalkwyk, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez were convicted after a protracted battle to stay out of jail.

They were all aged 16 at the time of the murder and were sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment each.

On Thursday, the parole board was granted a court order to release Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk, now aged 26. They were informed by prison officials to collect their belongings as they were going home.

But according to their lawyer Jenny Brewis, correctional services’ legal head Ruben Mbuli allegedly instructed Zonderwater warders not to release the men as they were about to leave jail.

The chairperson of the Zonderwater parole board, Advocate Hendrik Theron, had apparently asked the regional court clerk if the court was willing to postpone the execution of the release order.

'Strong exception'

Pretoria Regional Court Magistrate Peet Johnson, who issued the order, also took “strong exception” to a department official who called him personally and requested that the order be postponed.

Theron was not available for comment on Saturday.

City Press understands that the DCS will argue on Monday the initial court order was not served on them properly and intends using this as the main reason why they did not attend the high court proceedings on Friday.

On Friday, Judge Jordaan ordered Tana and Makasana to appear in court on January 24 to explain why they should not be sent to jail for contempt of the original order.

He also questioned why the department refused to release the men, despite the parole board’s decision to convert the sentence.

Jordaan rejected the argument that the order was not properly served on the department, saying: “It is clear they are aware of the order and that it was properly served on them.”

The judge remarked: “I thought I had seen everything in my old age. But it clearly appears I have not.”

  • Nhlantla - 2011-12-18 11:44

    They were just kids. Imprisonment can only damage a young mind. Let them go, they've learnt the hard lessons.

      spartan888 - 2011-12-18 17:01

      I agree, they were young and very very very dumb. If you believe that prisons are for rehabilitation, then you would agree they be released (they wont do it again). If you believe prisons are for punishment, then why not go all the way and say they should have been executed. I prefer the former NOT the latter

      Itumeleng - 2011-12-18 17:08

      if you are a murderer as a child " a child is pure" does not think of murdering other humanbeings, this( murdering tendencies gets worse with age, it is not just going to wearoff it's inbuilt

      John - 2011-12-18 17:44

      Crime in 2001. Guilty in 2005. Conviction in 2008. When is time counted from? I understand from time of detention. The time from detention until conviction is called time already served. So WHEN were they detained?

      Spyker - 2011-12-18 17:53

      We are RESPECTFULLY missing the point here. The core issue in this matter is CONTEMPT OF COURT. In principle, we have a highly politicised Police and Correctional Services [CS], now openly defying the courts - i.o.w. THE LAW. This is being done under political pressure and coercion - viz the ANC openly attacking the courts. The courts are the very bastion of law and order in a country. This matter is EXTREMELY serious..! The insanity that surrounds this case is beyond absurd. The CS does NOT (in any manner whatsoever) instruct-, order-, request ANYTHING directly to/from a Magistrate - it does so SOLELY through the courts or in chambers, in formal consultation - no exception.., FINISH EN KLAAR..! No CS official, of ANY sort or level, have ANY authority to decide who are incarcerated or released, they are ONLY mandated to reside over those who are in prison. The notion that ANY release has "...angered senior prison officials..." is insanity of the highest order. It is absolute surreal madness and almost sounds like an account from a tale about the German Gestapo or a North-Korean Detention Camp - what are they..? Political Prisoners.., certainly seems that way... BTW - Ruben Mbuli is a graduate of University of Zululand. An infamous Affirmative Action institute and Mbuli boasts healthy connections with key political players. PS: The morality of the original crime - ie the murder of an innocent person - is an entirely separate argument.

      emile.eley - 2011-12-18 18:34

      No Spyker, succinctly put, we are talking about justice.

      Spyker - 2011-12-18 18:54

      Emile - grow up...

  • Edward - 2011-12-18 13:59

    May i kindly request the writer of the story to confirm Hendrik Theron's title as an Advocate.

      Nico - 2011-12-18 16:37 Theron Hendrik Wilhelm 59301/2010 White Male Pretoria Appointed 2010/12/06

      Mary-Lou - 2011-12-18 16:40

      Are you illiterate, "The chairperson of the Zonderwater parole board, Advocate Hendrik Theron, "

  • Hunter - 2011-12-18 16:13

    Now why was there not such a resistence to letting Schabir go? I must agree with the judge - we keep seeing things we never though possible in this country.

      spartan888 - 2011-12-18 16:55

      @smanga. Shaik stole millions of rands that could have gone to feeding and clothing thousands of poor children. I think shaik is more scummy than any murderer

      Itumeleng - 2011-12-18 17:29

      human's life priceless or was it because it was black it's cheap

      emile.eley - 2011-12-18 18:35

      What rock have you been under Hunter?

  • Wilhelm - 2011-12-18 16:20

    May I kindly ask the writer how they could be 16 years old in 2008 and 26 years old in 2011? Does News24 have any editors at all or are there only the shoot-from-the-hip journalists left publishing any claptrap conceivable on a first come first serve basis?

      dave.leverton - 2011-12-18 16:26

      The incident happened in 2001 - it took another 7 years before they were imprisoned.

      Johan Grobbelaar - 2011-12-18 16:35

      @wilhelm: Reading not your strong point is it? Talking about shooting from the hip... Jeesh! Lol. Your comment takes the cake. Applying for president are u?

      Tania - 2011-12-18 20:09

      Crime took place in 2001 when they were 16....that plus 10 gives you....26 in the year 2011....not very difficult hey

  • Smanga Zwane - 2011-12-18 16:25

    If there was death penalty, we wouldn't even be talking about this. People who kill innocent people must also be killed.

      MEC - 2011-12-18 16:50

      Well, if you took that stance, our jails would be empty now, woudn't it?

      Phillie - 2011-12-18 17:19

      Why do I smell the vile stench of corruption her. Tied and van Schalkwyk snr's are stinking rich and the Zonderwater parole board very open to suggestions Why are the other two Bekker and du Preez not being considered for parole What makes Tied and v Schalkwyk different /(a bribe perhaps?

  • Wilhelm - 2011-12-18 16:49

    @Johan Grobbelaar. Eish, apologies to News24 and the reading public. Got it the second time around. Good thing I do not edit at News24.

  • Saksak Motsepe - 2011-12-18 16:54

    "Pretoria - In a bizarre twist, the prisons department will on Monday appeal its own court victory to have two of the Waterkloof Four killers released under correctional supervision." hahahahahahaha

  • John - 2011-12-18 16:54

    The measure of this case is as follows: are other killers treated in a similar way? It is not for Shaik and the ex-police guy to go free, or pretend to be in jail, while others have to serve their time. What is good for Shaik is good for every Sipho, Vusy, Reinach and Gert.

      Zebelon - 2011-12-20 13:27

      What is good for the released two is also good for the Hani killers.

  • Max - 2011-12-18 17:03

    This is must be a joke. O, I forgot I am in Africa.

      emile.eley - 2011-12-18 18:37

      Better see the doctor if the clutch is slipping that regularly Maxie.

  • Itumeleng - 2011-12-18 17:17

    is the judge doing a personal favour to these murderers, why should they be paroled?

      Kobus - 2011-12-18 17:30

      Itumeleng: Your comment is as dof as your picture

      Nico - 2011-12-18 17:52

      Paroled? Uhm they did NOT get parole there is a vast difference between parole and correctional supervision. What is the difference between Parole placement and placement under Correctional Supervision Parole: Parole placement is the conditional release of an offender subjected to continuous good conduct and adaptation from a correctional centre after a minimum prescribed portion of sentence has been served in the centre and under specific conditions that allows for the offender’s re-incarceration in the event of non compliance of conditions of placement. Correctional Supervision: Placement under Correctional Supervision is a community-based sentencing option by the court which an offender serves under set conditions in the community. It also refers to an option where the Commissioner may convert a sentence of imprisonment after a portion has been served in a correctional centre under certain set conditions.

      Saksak Motsepe - 2011-12-18 18:36

      Maybe we should point Itumeleng to the first paragraph of the article which state that its the "prisons department" that applied for the prisoners to be released, the magistrate agreed with them and now they want to appeal the whole thing. Hahahahahaha, what a joke

  • Holden - 2011-12-18 18:00

    I am not pro-government but I think that in this instance the Department of Correctional Services are correct. The prison time served is too short. This is how it works:

      Nico - 2011-12-18 19:02

      I agree. You must just be able to read...... In respect of offender’s who can be considered for placement under Correctional Supervision or referred back to the court a quo for possible conversion of sentence into Correctional Supervision the following periods must be served: •Section 276 1(i) of the Criminal Procedure Act. 1/6 of sentence must be served prior to placement under Correctional Supervision by the Commissioner. Sentence may not exceed 5 years. •Section 276(1) (b) of the Criminal Procedure Act. Normal term of imprisonment which may be referred to the court a quo upon completion of 1/4of sentence for possible conversion of sentence in terms of section 276A (3). The portion of sentence left to be served may not exceed 5 years.

  • TheWatcher - 2011-12-18 18:26

    what a complete balls up

  • Zizi - 2011-12-18 21:38

    All the convicted farm murderers should be placed under "correctional supervision"

  • craig.pechey - 2011-12-18 22:16

    They bloody murderers!! At 16 they would have known dam well what they were doing!! They must rot in Jail where they belong!!

  • Charl-Louis - 2011-12-19 09:55

    I have read all the comments made by everyone and as per usual every one person have their point of view on the matter. But facts still stand firm a crime was committed by minors the case was dragged out by the state so the boys could stand trail, they did they were found guilty and sentenced. They served 3 years witch is fairly standard these days for murder and then going on correctional supervision witch in itself is still a sentence. I just feel so sorry for the boys for being used as a political tool and this is a true reflection and personify governments attitude and behavior toward white in South-Africans. Justice has been made a joke by the Department of Corrections. P.S They are probably still there because they didn't bribe the wardens

  • Etienne - 2011-12-21 00:28

    Reinach TIEDT!!! Your name sounds like a Scotsman swearing after dropping the caber on his foot. Suits you, actually.

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