Waterkloof 4: Back in Prison after a Nice Holiday

Justice is a 5-course meal, served in regular portions. In between every meal you need to sit back, loosen the pants and prepare for the next course. You can’t eat it all at once. Barend Strijdom is out to lunch.

waterkloof 4CULLINAN – After an 18 month break in their sentence, Reinach Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk, two of the notorious Waterkloof 4 gang, will be going back to the Zonderwater prison to serve the remainder of their time.

Speaking at his parents’ home in Pretoria, Tiedt expressed his gratitude at the South African justice department. “It was nice of them to give us a break,” he said. “Serving time is stressful.”

The Waterkloof 4 rose to infamy in 2001, when the four teenagers from well-off families, students at Pretoria’s prestigious Waterkloof High School and stars in the school’s rugby team terrorised a local homeless community for a whole evening. Their reign of terror resulted in the death of one man and severe injury to another. The four killers – Tiedt, van Schalkwyk, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez – began serving their twelve year sentence in 2008.  Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk served three years before being granted temporary leave in 2011, remaining under correctional supervision for the last 18 months.

The Department of Correctional Services defended their decision and expressed disgust at the accusations that murderers are simply allowed to go free. “They served time, we gave them a holiday, now they’re serving the rest,” asserted chief deputy commissioner James Smalberger. “What more do you want us to do?”

Smalberger was adamant that breaking prison sentences into segments is the best way to enforce justice. “It is better for such young men to serve their time in portions,” he said. “We feel that proper rehabilitation can only take place if they are allowed some time away from the rigours of rehabilitation. Too much justice at once can undermine justice.”

The DSC maintains that the release of some members of the Waterkloof 4 was an experiment to try and improve crime and punishment in South Africa. “We are considering a program where we release prisoners once a year for a four week vacation so that they can recuperate and be better prepared to serve the remainder of their sentences,” confirmed Tom Moyane, National Commissioner. “By turning these men into better inmates, we’ll improve their capacity for rehabilitation, making them more likely to walk the straight and narrow path once they get a permanent release.”

Some people have criticised the idea, saying that those who have been temporarily released will use the opportunity to escape, but Moyane claims that it’s purely cynical speculation. “As you can see, these two members of the notorious Waterkloof 4 complied with the program and were easily returned to prison. We have no reason to suspect that others will not abide. Just because they are criminals doesn’t mean they won’t take responsibility for their actions.”

Van Schalkwyk says he’s ready and looking forward to serving the remainder of his time. “It’s not so bad,” he insisted. “The food’s a bit starchy and I miss playing rugby, but as long as no-one tries to shank me with a molten toothbrush I can’t complain.” BN

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Barend Strijdom – Law Correspondent

Barend Strijdom – Law Correspondent

While serving time and trying to fight the system from the inside, Barend learnt a thing or two about the law. He follows the law closely, from a distance, and the law follows him. Do not tell anyone that he’s out.

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