‘Don’t release Prime Evil’

2014-06-28 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL Midlands woman, Jane Quin, has written an open letter to Correctional Services and Justice Minister Mike Masutha urging him not to consider parole for apartheid operative Eugene de Kock. Quin said he had ordered her sister Jacki Quin’s killing and has not paid his debt to society nor for her murder.

Jacki, a school teacher in Lesotho, and her husband, uMkhonto weSizwe operative Leon Meyer, were murdered a few days before Christmas in 1985 at their home on the outskirts of Maseru. Their baby daughter, Phoenix, was found unhurt in her cot the next morning.

The South African government never admitted to the attack. However, years later it emerged that the killers were members of the security police’s Vlakplaas Unit, headed by De Kock, who is nicknamed Prime Evil.

Quin was forced to confront these painful memories when the Pretoria high court ordered Masutha to consider parole for De Kock. At the end of May, Judge Thokozile Masipa gave the minister 30 days to make a decision on the matter. That time is just about up.

Quin, who is currently on a visit to London, spoke to Weekend Witness about her personal agony as she pondered the judge’s rulings. In the end, she believes that justice still needs to be served, hence her letter to the minister.

Quin said it would have been Jacki’s 59th birthday last month. “She was shot when she was 30 and next year she will have been dead for as many years as she lived.”

She has several objections as to why De Kock should be denied parole. According to Quin, there have been only three white South African perpetrators of apartheid crimes convicted: De Kock, Clive Derby-Lewis and Ferdy Barnard.

“For all the direct and indirect damage of apartheid. For all those whose lives were deeply damaged and destroyed through death, torture, banishment, exile and jail for fighting for justice, only three people among the perpetrators are paying some sort of price.

“And now two of the three come up for parole and the consideration of their release based on compassionate grounds of health or having paid their debt to society,” she said.

Quin does not believe De Kock paid such a debt. In her letter to the minister, she lists the cases he was implicated in. However, her main reason for opposing his parole is her conviction that justice in the case of her sister’s death, and that of many others, has not yet been done. “We as a country failed to prosecute the named and admitted perpetrators who didn’t get amnesty in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC].”

Quin said there was a commitment of the TRC that those who did not get amnesty would be prosecuted, but that there have been no such prosecutions to date.

She added that in the case of Jacki’s murder, De Kock, Johannes Velde van der Merwe, Willem Albertus Nortje, Izak Daniel Bosch, Nicholaas Johannes Vermeulen and Frederick Schoon were refused amnesty, mainly on the grounds that she was not an MK member.

“[Yet] they have never been charged in civilian life for the murders they have acknowledged having participated in, for which they were refused the protection of amnesty. So how dare we as a country spend precious resources of time, money and energy considering the release of the killers who are captive, when we haven’t even bothered to bring the others to book?” Quin asked.

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