Apartheid-era assassin Ferdi Barnard. File photo: ANA.

JOHANNESBURG - Former apartheid-era death squad member Ferdi Barnard was on Tuesday released on parole after serving 20 years for his crimes.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha granted Barnard parole on March 7.

Barnard was in 1998 convicted of murdering anti-apartheid activist David Webster and attempting to murder former justice minister Dullah Omar, among the many atrocities he committed while working as an undercover operator for the notorious Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB).  

Webster, a revered academic and a human rights activist, was gunned down by Barnard in 1989 outside his home in Troyeville, Johannesburg while returning from shopping with his wife, Maggie Friedman.

Barnard was convicted of killing Webster only 10 years later. 

At the trial, Barnard's ex-wife, Maryna Language told the Pretoria High Court that the CCB supplied Barnard with a hit-list which had Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Desmond Tutu, who headed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Other people on the list were Webster, South West African People's Organisation (Swapo) activist Anton Lubowski and SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

In 2015 the high court upheld Masutha's decision to refuse Barnard parole. At the time Masutha said Barnard, who killed Webster while on parole in 1989, would be considered for parole again within in a year. 

African News Agency (ANA)