Former apartheid regime head of covert police unit, which allegedly tortured and killed dozens of people during white minority rule in South Africa, has been denied parole after serving eighteen years in prison for various crimes which he committed.
Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, announced today that de Kock’s request had been denied and that his application will be considered again after one year, versus the normal period of two years. The reason for the denial was stated as due to the fact that the victim’s families had not been consulted with regards to de Kock’s parole, as is the law.
Nicknamed “Prime Evil” by those working with him for the efficiency of his torture and killing methods, de Kock killed countless people in order to prevent any uprising against the Apartheid regime of the time. He is currently the highest ranked security official to testify before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). While de Kock received pardon for some of the crimes which he committed, the TRC could not find political motivation for many of the acts which he performed and as such he was sentenced to two life sentences plus an additional 212 years in prison, starting in 1996. De Kock was convicted on charges relating to murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, fraud, illegal possession of firearms, assault and conspiracy, summing up to a total of 89 charges.
De Kock has received credit for his cooperation with the TRC, whereby he first testified in 1994 when South Africa became a democracy. De Kock’s testimonies have allowed for great insight into the crimes committed during Apartheid and have allowed many missing bodies to be identified and recovered. He has testified for more than 100 crimes which he had involvement in and also spoke of the government’s complicity with the actions of the groups which he was involved in. He testified about the methods which they allegedly used to kill anti-apartheid activists, such as by burning and letter bombs.
De Kock has expressed remorse for his actions by means of meeting with family members related to the people whom he harmed in order to apologise and offer explanation. He has also written letters to affected family members in order to reach out and offer his condolences and an opportunity to discuss his crimes.
The issue of de Kock’s release has divided the public in South Africa and worldwide, with many believing that he has served his time and he is serving time whilst many other people who committed crimes during Apartheid were never held accountable. Meanwhile, a large number of people believe that they could never forgive him and that he does not deserve to be released.