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Slain David Webster’s partner 'didn’t object' to parole for his killer

Justice Minister Michael Masutha says he personally consulted Maggie Friedman before reaching his decision, which was announced 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 - The Justice Ministry has revealed that the partner of murdered anti-apartheid activist Dr David Webster did not object to his killer Ferdi Barnard being granted parole.

Minister Michael Masutha says he personally consulted Maggie Friedman before reaching his decision, which was announced on Thursday.

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

On 1 May 1989, Webster and his partner, Friedman, were offloading plants from the back of his bakkie, which was parked in the street in Troyeville, Johannesburg.

Barnard pulled up in a car and at point blank range, fired a shotgun at his target. Webster died on the scene.

In a 2015 interview, Friedman said she would be frightened if she were to meet Barnard in the street.

Now, more than three years later, Masutha says Friedman did not object to the apartheid-era murderer being released on parole.

Masutha says Barnard will spend the rest of his life under the supervision of a community corrections officer.

ARMY’S APARTHEID-ERA SECURITY BRANCH

A former Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) investigator said the release of Barnard has re-ignited questions about the army’s apartheid-era security branch, the South African Civil Cooperation Bureau.

Former TRC investigator Piers Pigou said like the Eugene de Kock matter, while Barnard was prosecuted, his commanders at the African Civil Cooperation Bureau escaped being held accountable.

“His parole opens the door to a lot of questions to be answered about the Civil Cooperation Bureau; what it did, who was involved and so forth. It’s not an organisation that was involved in a handful of incidents that we know about.”

Masutha said after he denied Bernard’s parole three years ago, he ordered that he conclude victim-offender dialogues with all identified victims.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)