Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
6 Mar 2015
12:00 pm

Waterkloof 4’s Becker plans to sue minister

Ilse de Lange

Christoff Becker, one of the so-called Waterkloof Four, is suing the correctional services minister for R2.5 million in damages for his alleged unlawful arrest and detention.

FILE PICTURE: Christoff Becker leaves the Department of Correctional Services on February 11, 2014. (Photo by Gallo Images / Foto24 / Herman Verwey)

The claim was filed in the High Court in Pretoria earlier this week against the minister, the chairperson of the Parole Board and two other correctional services officials. The respondents have 20 days to file a notice if they want to oppose the claim.

Becker, pictured, Reinach Tiedt, Gert van Schalkwyk and Frikkie du Preez were in 2005 sentenced to 12 years in jail for murdering an unidentified man and assaulting another in a park in 2001, when the four were still at school. They only commenced serving their sentences in August 2008 after losing their appeal. They were released on parole on February 11 last year after serving five and a half years of their sentences, but Becker and Du Preez were rearrested five days later.

This was shortly after a report appeared in a Sunday newspaper claiming they had smuggled alcohol into prison and held a party in Becker’s cell just before their release.

Correctional services thereafter said a video of the party was posted on YouTube showing Becker and fellow inmates drinking and using a cellphone, with Becker saying they were “having a great time” and “managed to get a bottle of something”.

In a later court application, Becker denied alcohol was used and claimed someone had recovered photos he had wiped from the hard drive of his computer in jail and sold pictures to the newspaper for R50 000.

He was moved to the maximum security prison in Kokstad, where he was kept in complete isolation after a cellphone was allegedly found in his possession at the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison in Pretoria.

He, however, claimed it was a “punishment” as correctional services felt their name had been tarnished. Becker was only released in December last year after obtaining an urgent court order stipulating he had to be released on the same parole conditions on which he had been released 10 months earlier.

He has maintained the decision to revoke their bail was unlawful and not due to a parole violation, but because of alleged disciplinary infractions while they were prisoners.