Justice minister Michael Masutha has approved placing Ferdi Barnard, the killer of anti-apartheid activist David Webster, on full parole. Picture: SINO MAJANGAZA
Justice minister Michael Masutha has approved placing Ferdi Barnard, the killer of anti-apartheid activist David Webster, on full parole. Picture: SINO MAJANGAZA

Ferdi Barnard, the man who shot dead anti-apartheid activist David Webster in 1989, will be placed on full parole from April 2.

On Thursday, justice and correctional services minister Michael Masutha announced he had approved this.

Barnard was sentenced to life imprisonment on June 4 1998 after being convicted on numerous charges, including murder, attempted murder, defeating the ends of justice and unlawful possession of firearms.

One of the two murder charges was in connection with the killing of anti-apartheid activist and Wits University academic Webster on May 1 1989.

Barnard shot Webster outside his home in Troyeville, Johannesburg, at the behest of the apartheid police's security branch, the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB). 

The CCB told Barnard that Webster, a pacifist, was involved in terrorist activities.

In reaching the decision to grant parole, Masutha satisfied himself that Barnard had met all requirements for parole. 

The justice department said that as part of the consultations before finalising his decision, Masutha "personally engaged with" Maggie Friedman, Webster’s partner.

"After raising her concerns with minister Masutha, Ms Friedman indicated that she had no objection to the placement of Mr Barnard on parole," the department said in a statement.

In terms of section 136(3)(a)(b) of the Correctional Services Act, an offender serving a life sentence is entitled to be considered for day parole or parole after having served 20 years or more of their life sentence.

The department said 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, on whether to confirm the offender on parole.

Barnard has served more than 20 years of the life sentence imposed in 1998. 

He was first considered for parole by Masutha on August 29 2016 and a further profile was requested pending, among others, the conclusion of victim-offender dialogues with all identified victims. 

The department said this did not mean the end of Barnard's 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."