Dismissal of Waterkloof bid welcomed

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IOL  christoff becker.JPG (40992640) INLSA Christoff Becker Photo: Phill Magakoe

Johannesburg - Acting Correctional Services National Commissioner Zach Modise has welcomed the High Court in Pretoria's dismissal of an urgent application to reinstate the parole of one of the Waterkloof Four.

“Correctional services will always ensure the effective implementation of the parole policy and regulations as stipulated in the Correctional Services Act without fear or favour,” Modise said in a statement.

“The department's goal of contributing to a just, peaceful, and safe South Africa through humane incarceration, rehabilitation, and social reintegration will always be paramount, and nothing will be allowed to compromise that mission.”

In dismissing the application by Christoff Becker with costs, high court Judge Sulet Potteril said she could not find that the matter was urgent.

Earlier, Gerrit Muller, for Becker, submitted that the matter was urgent because Becker's right to freedom had been “arbitrarily and unjustifiably infringed”.

He said two warrants for re-arrest were issued in February, and that Becker had been held unlawfully since then without appearing before a court.

Opposing the application, Marumo Moerane, for the correctional services department, said: “ 1/8The department is 3/8 not satisfied with why it took him so long to come to court on an urgent basis.

“The department believes that it has done everything in accordance with the law governing the administration of corrections in South Africa, and will not allow deviant behaviour to go uncorrected as that could compromise public trust and confidence, not only in the country's correctional system but in the criminal justice system as a whole.”

On February 16, Becker and Frikkie du Preez were re-arrested after footage emerged of them allegedly drinking alcohol and using a cellphone at the Kgosi Mampuru prison.

The video, reportedly taken on a cellphone, was posted on YouTube. It showed Du Preez and Becker drinking what appeared to be alcohol, and using a cellphone in prison.

Earlier in February, Becker, Du Preez, Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt were released after being jailed for beating a homeless man to death in Pretoria in 2001.

Becker, 27, said in court papers that his re-arrest in February, five days after being released on parole, was for nonsensical reasons.

In the papers, Becker denied that alcohol was used at the party, which was video-recorded. He said pictures of Johnnie Walker and J&B whisky in the video were actually pictures on a computer screen saver.

He wanted the parole board to set aside the decision to revoke his parole, to be moved back to Pretoria from Kokstad prison, and to be released on parole on the same conditions as in February.

Becker also sought to have his re-arrest and detention declared unlawful, and for the department to pay his legal bill.

Sapa



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