It has emerged that between the Department of Police and the Department of Correctional Services, Eugene de Cock has been lost and nobody seems to want to volunteer information on his whereabouts. On January 30, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha announced he had acceded to the request by De Kock’s legal team and family to place him on parole. This followed a protracted legal battle which started in 2014 when the then Justice minister refused to place the former apartheid activist on parole. Masutha confirmed that the whole process of the parole application had been followed and most important of all, that the families of his victims had been consulted and been made part of the process.
However, it appears that when it came to the implementation of the parole decision, something has not gone right. Before the minister made his 30 January announcement on the parole decision, de Kock had been moved from the Kgosi Mampuru II prison where he was being held, ostensibly for his protection as he had apparently received threats. After the announcement, however, no action seems to have been taken towards effecting his placement on parole, which has raised concerns of whether the Minister has reneged on his decision.
However, what has raised eyebrows is the fact that the two departments involved in the saga do not seem prepared to accepting any responsibility or knowledge on the subject of de Kock. According to the spokesperson for the police at the national headquarters, Lieutenant-General Solomon Makgale, his department was not aware of anything to do with de Kock as they did not have him in their custody. “We have no knowledge of this matter. Eugene is not in our custody,” he said. However, it is significant that it took the police all of two days to respond to the question of de Kock’s whereabouts.
The Department of Correctional Services, on the other hand, declined to say whether De Kock remains in its custody, whether he is in protective custody, or whether he was handed over to another department. Questions that had been fielded to them were completely ignored and no response has been forthcoming from them at all. A spokesperson for Minister Masutha has intimated that by not informing the press about the release of de Kock, they were merely fulfilling a request that had been made by de Kock himself. However, Julian Knight, who is representing de Kock said that he had written to Minister Masutha demanding an explanation of his client’s whereabouts and warning the minister that he intended bringing writ of habeas corpus, which is a legal demand to bring a missing person to court so it may decide if his continued detention is legal. He added that he understood that the police had signed de Kock out of prison, which runs contrary to the statement by police spokesman, Solomon Makgale.