Justice and Justice Minister Michael Masutha has approved the enforcement of Ferdinand Barnard with effect from 2 April 2019, the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services said on Thursday.
Barnard was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 1998 after being convicted, inter alia, of murder, attempted murder, cessation of justice and unlawful possession of firearms. He served more than 20 years in prison.
One of the two murders was related to the assassination of the anti-apartheid activist and the graduate of Wits University, dr. David Webster, made in 1989. Webster was shot at the behest of the security sector of the apartheid police, the Civil Cooperations Bureau (CCB).
When he made the decision, Masutha had convinced himself that Barnard had met all the requirements for probation, the department said.
As part of the consultations before concluding his decision, Minister Masutha personally negotiated with Dr. Ing. Maggie Friedman, Dr. Webster. After addressing her concerns to Minister Masutha, Ms Friedman stated that she had no objection to the release of Mr Barnard. "
According to Masutha's spokesman Max Mpuzana, "The CCB misinformed Mr. Barnard and told him that pacifist Dr. Webster was involved in terrorist activities."
The SA Press Association reported in 1998 that Barnard was found guilty of 34 charges of murder and attempted murder, including fraud and intimidation.
Among the allegations was the attempted murder of the late Justice Minister Dullah Omar in 1989.
Webster was shot dead on May 1, 1989 outside his home in Troyeville, Johannesburg, which he shared with his partner Maggie Friedman. His shooting in broad daylight shocked and horrified the human rights and anti-apartheid community.
As a qualified anthropologist, Webster's broader studies also examined the impact of torture on detainees during apartheid.
Masutha said this decision did not mean the end of Barnard's life in prison. The Community Corrections Office will oversee and monitor him while serving the rest of his sentence in the community for the rest of his natural life.
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