Lifers granted day parole
"These offenders will be closely monitored, including the use of electronic monitoring," said spokesperson James Smalberger in a statement.
He said Petrus Legong, Riku Nortje, Zuko Nato and Bennett Mzoko would be released on parole, and Cornelius Johannes van Wyk would be released on day parole as from 1 January.
Day parole means an offender is allowed to go out of a correctional centre during the day but must return at night.
He said Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele had approved the parole applications of the four.
"Parole is not a right, and is always subject to specific conditions which an offender must comply with."
Smalberger said the progressive parole system in place today in South Africa was based on international best practice.
"In the case of lifers, the minister of correctional services takes the final decision to grant parole or not."
He said the National Council on Correctional Services (NCCS), chaired by Judge Siraj Desai, considers parole applications for lifers on a regular basis for recommendation to the minister.
"Upon receipt of advice and recommendations from the NCCS, the minister exercises due consideration."
He said the offenders were sentenced between 1993 and 1996 for crimes such as murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.