|30. January 2015
Apartheid killer de Kock granted parole – attacks by right-wingers feared
Apartheid killer Eugene de Kock has been granted parole. But Clive Derby-Lewis, the alleged mastermind behind the murder of South African Communist Party (SACP) leader, Chris Hani, has been denied medical parole. Ferdi Bernard, responsible for the murder of anti-apartheid activist, David Webster, will remain in prison for now as a decision on his application for parole has not been made yet. Justice minister, Michael Masutha, made the announcement on Friday. Masutha said the date and time of De Kock’s release from prison will not be made public. De Kock, also known as “prime evil”, is currently serving two life sentences and 212 years in prison for crimes committed while he headed the apartheid police’s death squad, which targeted anti-apartheid activists. De Kock is now 65 years old. Masutha’s request for parole was declined in July last year because the victims of the crimes and their families had not been considered.
Now, Masutha said he was aware of the progress De Kock has made in terms of improving his skills. De Kock also gives “support” to the National Prosecuting Authority’s missing persons task team. Masutha said “comprehensive” consultations with the victims and their families had now been done.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Independent established that De Kock, who was freed on parole after serving 20 years in prison, has been moved to a safe house. Several sources said that these special arrangements were put in place after a security assessment was done on De Kock.
In the main, the threats emanate from right-wing groups and former security branch members who fear reprisal. The basis of their fears are the disclosures that De Kock, who led the notorious death squads of the apartheid government, is believed to have made to the government.
“De Kock has spilled the beans and that places him under a serious security threat. He took the fall and those that issued the instructions and were party to murders fear prosecution,” a source said.
“They fear being in the accused box, facing De Kock in the witness stand. Other than those he has mentioned in his many contacts with security officials, he also faces threats from the right wing, who consider him a sell-out for confessing and disclosing names. “There would also be possible threats from some of the victims who may not have forgiven him for his acts. Some of these include members of former liberation movements,” the source said.
(Mail & Guardian; The Sunday Independent, Johannesburg)