After spending 20 years of his two life-term sentence, Ferdi Barnard, the infamous apartheid-era hitman has been released on parole.
As reported by the Citizen, the convicted murderer that served the apartheid government under the civil co-operation bureau (the notorious death squad), walked out of the Kgosi Mampuru II prison, on Tuesday morning, a free man.
Why was Ferdi Barnard convicted of murder?
On 4 June 1998, Barnard had been found guilty of the murder of David Webster, an anti-apartheid activist and anthropologist at Wits University.
He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of Dullah Omar, defeating the ends of justice and the unlawful possession of firearms.
“One of the two murder charges is in connection with the killing of anti-apartheid activists and Wits University academic Dr David Webster on 1 May 1989.
“Mr Barnard shot and killed Dr David Webster at the behest of the apartheid police’s security branch, the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB). The CCB misinformed Mr Barnard and told him that Dr Webster, a pacifist, was involved in terrorist activities.”
Correctional services spokesperson, Singabakho Nxumalo.
The apartheid-era hitman got handed a double life term, along with an additional 63 years in prison for his crimes.
Why correctional services decided to approve the parole
However, after correctional services minister, Michael Masutha reviewed his recent parole application, it was decided that Barnard was ready to be reintegrated into society after only serving a portion of his sentence.
Nxumalo revealed that, before Masutha made his decision, he had approached Webster’s wife, Maggie Friedman, who indicated that she harboured no ill-will towards Barnard and that she was okay with the decision to release him on parole.
According to the correctional services department, this is how they arrived at the decision:
“In terms of section 136(3)(a)(b) of Correctional Services Act 111 of 1998, an offender serving a life sentence is entitled to be considered for day parole or parole, after having served 20 years or above on their life sentence.
“The profile of such an offender must be submitted to the National Council for Correctional Services (NCCS), which must make a recommendation to the minister regarding the placement of the offender on day parole or parole. In terms of the Act, the minister has discretion, if the NCCS has made a favourable recommendation, as to whether or not to confirm the placement on parole of an offender.”
Department of Correctional Services, statement
Masutha made it clear that Barnard being released on parole did not mean that he was necessary as free a man as the ordinary, law-abiding citizen.
“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.
“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.” he stated.