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Waterkloof pair held over ‘prison party’

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IOL pic feb17 waterkloof four file

Independent Newspapers

Reinach Tiedt, Gert van Schalkwyk, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez were convicted of killing a homeless man in a Pretoria park in 2004. File picture: Herbert Matimba

Johannesburg - Two of the so-called Waterkloof Four convicted murderers have been re-arrested for allegedly smuggling alcohol and having a party inside prison, the Correctional Services Department said on Sunday.

“Two of the ‘Waterkloof Four’ allegedly responsible for smuggling alcohol and having a party inside the centre, have been re-arrested while an investigation is under way over the next 72 hours,” spokesman Manelisi Wolela said in a statement.

“The department takes very serious the allegations carried in the media about the smuggling of alcohol, having a party and covering the party with illegally possessed cameras or cellphones (sic).”

Wolela said the regional commissioner of Gauteng instituted the investigation on Sunday.

Wolela explained that the Correctional Services Act made provision for a precautionary re-detention until investigations are completed. He said the men were re-arrested and could be held for a period of 72 hours.

The two parolees, officials and managers on duty will be questioned as well, he said.

A video of the party was posted on YouTube showing Frikkie du Preez and Christoff Becker allegedly drinking, and using a cellphone in a cell in Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru prison.

Wolela said the investigation would involve watching the video, interviewing the two parolees and speaking to those responsible for security on the day.

In the video, Becker says in Afrikaans: “It's a nice weekend in jail here. We’re having a great time... We managed to get a bottle of something.”

Pop music plays throughout the video. The cell is shown equipped with a sink, a table with a computer on it, and a pot plant with heart-shaped leaves. Becker takes photos of himself with a cellphone while posing topless in front of a mirror.

Throughout the video, which runs for just under four minutes, Becker constantly pulls on his shorts to expose more of his red-banded briefs. He stands up to flex his muscles, does some dance moves and plays with his belly button, which is shown in an extended close-up.

At one stage, Du Preez, who appears to be seated on a toilet and drinking something out of a mug, doubles over with laughter and lifts his eyebrow and pouts.

A photo on the computer screen shows a bottle of J&B whisky and Johnny Walker Red Label.

A friend of Becker's, Francois Lubbe, confirmed to City Press newspaper that Becker and Du Preez were drinking in the video.

“Someone gave them the alcohol in jail,” he said, stating he was responsible only for sending the photograph of alcohol seen on the computer screen.

“Boys will be boys. Christoff and Frikkie don't really care about the video. It happened in jail and doesn't affect their parole conditions,” said Lubbe.

Earlier, Wolela declined to give details on possible sanctions the men faced, saying the process should be allowed to run its course.

He said penalties for breaking prison rules could include being recalled back to prison.

On Tuesday, Bekker, Du Preez, Gert van Schalkwyk and Reinach Tiedt were released on parole. They were jailed for beating a homeless man to death in Pretoria in 2001. - Sapa


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