Justice Minister Michael Masutha approved the release on parole of apartheid-era hitman Ferdinand Barnard on April 2. Picture: Leon Muller/ Independent Media

Cape Town - Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Thursday approved the release on parole of apartheid-era hitman Ferdinand Barnard on April 2.

In a statement, the justice ministry said Masutha had satisfied himself that Barnard met all the requirements for parole, including that he served more than 20 years of his life imprisonment sentence.

"It is important to note that Parole placement for Mr. Ferdinand Barnard does not mean the end of his life sentence. He has been transferred to the Community Corrections Office which will supervise and monitor him as he will be serving the remainder of his sentence in the community for the rest of his natural life," the ministry said.

"As with other parolees, the parole conditions of Mr Barnard will be subjected to continuous review and may be changed depending on his personal conduct."

Barnard was sentenced in 1998 for murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and unlawful possession of firearms. One of the people he murdered was Wits University academic and anti-apartheid activist David Webster in 1989.

Masutha personally consulted with Webster's partner Maggie Friedman.

"After raising her concerns with Minister Masutha, Ms Friedman indicated that she had no objection to the placement of Mr Barnard on parole."

African News Agency (ANA)