Parole approved for apartheid hitman Ferdi Barnard

2019-03-07 12:10
Ferdi Barnard in 1996 (Netwerk24)

Ferdi Barnard in 1996 (Netwerk24)

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Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha has approved the placement on full parole of Ferdinand Barnard with effect from April 2, 2019, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services announced on Thursday. 

Barnard was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1998 after being convicted on numerous charges including, murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and unlawful possession of firearms. He has served more than 20 years of his sentence.

One of the two murder charges was in connection with the killing of anti-apartheid activist and Wits University academic Dr David Webster in 1989. Webster was shot and killed at the behest of the apartheid police’s security branch, the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB). 

In reaching the decision, Masutha had satisfied himself that Barnard had met all requirements for parole, the department said. 

"As part of the consultations prior to finalising his decision, Minister Masutha personally engaged with Ms Maggie Friedman, Dr Webster's partner. After raising her concerns with Minister Masutha, Ms Friedman indicated that she had no objection to the placement of Mr Barnard on parole."

According to Masutha's spokesperson Max Mpuzana: "The CCB misinformed Mr Barnard and told him that Dr Webster, a pacifist, was involved in terrorist activities."

34 charges

The SA Press Association reported in 1998 that Barnard had pleaded not guilty to 34 charges ranging from murder and attempted murder to fraud and intimidation. 

The charges also included the attempted murder of the late justice minister Dullah Omar in 1989.

Webster was shot dead on May 1, 1989 outside his house in Troyeville, Johannesburg, which he shared with his partner Maggie Friedman. His shooting in broad daylight shocked and horrified the human rights and anti-apartheid community.

An anthropologist by qualification, Webster had also been studying the effects of torture on detainees during apartheid as part of his broader studies. 

Masutha said this decision does not mean the end of Barnard's life sentence. The Community Corrections Office will supervise and monitor him as he serves the remainder of his sentence in the community for the rest of his natural life.

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Read more on:    michael mashutha  |  ferdi barnard  |  prisons  |  apartheid

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