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REINACH Tiedt and Gert van Schalkwyk, two of the Waterkloof four convicted of murdering a homeless man in a Pretoria park, still do not believe that they committed murder.
Both men admitted to assaulting a man, but believed that the man whose body was found by police in a park in Moreleta Park, Pretoria, in December 2001 was not their victim.
This is according to the social workers’ parole reports accompanying the Zonderwater parole board’s application for the conversion of Tiedt’s and Van Schalkwyk’s sentences from 12 years in prison to correctional supervision for the next five years.
Regional magistrate Peet Johnson granted the application in the Pretoria regional court after the state did not oppose it.
Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk were released from Zonderwater prison on Monday.
Tiedt’s profile report was drawn up on May 27 this year, and Van Schalkwyk’s on June 15.
The report said that Tiedt, who was 15 at the time, and Van Schalkwyk, then 16, believed they were protecting the community by tracking down the man in a park after he had run across the road along with some other men.
The teenagers believed the “suspects” had stolen goods in their possession.
They found a man hiding behind a tree.
According to Van Schalkwyk’s report, the then teenaged boys wanted to “scare” the man, and assaulted him.
Tiedt said they assaulted the man after he hit one of their friends with a brick.
They subsequently phoned the police to report suspicious characters in the park as they wanted to prevent the man from committing any further offences, according to the report on Tiedt.
Van Schalkwyk’s report said that they wanted to report the incident to the police, but not implicate themselves as they and their fellow accused, Christoff Becker and Frikkie du Preez, were driving around without a valid driver’s licence.
So they decided to phone the police and say they suspected a man was assaulting his wife in the area.
More than two years passed and they carried on with their lives.
Van Schalkwyk was in matric at Waterkloof High School when he received a call from Becker, a pupil at Garsfontein High School, who told him that charges of murder and assault had been laid against them.
According to the report, Van Schalkwyk was “totally confused” because more than two years had passed and he was convinced they had left their victim alive in the park.
Tiedt and Van Schalkwyk agreed that their victim was not the man whose body the police found in the park a day after they assaulted a man.
That man, whose body was never claimed, bled to death because of a deep stab wound in the leg.
The police also found a stolen radio in the park.
According to the reports, Van Schalkwyk and Tiedt struggled to accept their sentences.
They started serving their prison sentences only on August 11, 2008, after appealing unsuccessfully as far as the Supreme Court of Appeal.
After they started serving their jail sentences, 10 judges of the Constitutional Court also unanimously denied their applications for leave to appeal.