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Apartheid-era death squad member Ferdi Barnard granted parole

Justice Minister Michael Masutha made the announcement on Thursday.

FILE: Former Transport Minister Dullah Omar (R) makes a concilliatory gesture to convicted killer and former apartheid assassin Ferdi Barnard (left) during a break at a hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Cape Town 02 October 2000. Ferdi Barnard applied for amnesty for the attempted murder of Omar. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA - Former apartheid-era death squad member and convicted murderer Ferdi Barnard has been granted parole, effective from next month.

Justice Minister Michael Masutha made the announcement on Thursday after first initially denying the offender’s application in 2016.

Barnard was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1998 for several crimes including murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Masutha says that granting Barnard parole does not mean the end of his life sentence. Instead, he will serve out the remainder of his term supervised by a community corrections officer.

He says that Barnard’s parole conditions will be subjected to continuous review and he will be closely monitored.

The offender was convicted of the 1989 murder of anti-apartheid activist and Wits University academic Dr David Webster.

The hit was carried out on the instructions of the the Civil Cooperation Bureau, a covert unit of the then South Africa Defence Force which was established with the approval of Minister of Defence General Magnus Malan.

Masutha says that he personally engaged with Webster’s partner, Maggie Friedman, who did not object to Barnard being placed on parole.