‘Prime Evil’ could be paroled, thanks to new regulations

2011-12-15 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Former Vlak­plaas commander Eugene de Kock is one of 10 prisoners whose parole will be considered in the light of an amended departmental policy.

Correctional Services spokesperson Phumlani Ximiya said the policy is based on two high court judgments made this year, in March and in July.

“The rulings have compelled the department to look at all judgments and possible parole for prisoners.”

Ximiya said the parole regulations that applied until now provided that prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment before October 1, 2004, could apply for parole after having served 13 years and four months of their sentence.

“All prisoners who received life sentences after that date have to wait at least 20 years before they can apply for parole.”

Ferdi Barnard, a member of the controversial Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB) during the apartheid years, is another prisoner who will be considered for parole under the new conditions. Barnard was handed two life sentences plus 63 years in 1998.

The policy changes mean that De Kock and Barnard could spend up to seven years less in prison.

The judgments provide that parole regulations that existed before October 1, 2004, have to be applied to prisoners sentenced before that date. To date Correctional Services has applied the latest regulations to all prisoners, regardless of when they were sentenced.

De Kock, also known as “Prime Evil”, was handed two life sentences plus a further 212 years on various charges in 1996.

Ximiya said several steps are necessary before these two prisoners, or any others, can walk out of jail.

“An investigation team will look at every case and will consider each individual independently, including his conduct in prison.

“At the conclusion of the investigation the team will make recommendations regarding parole.” The recommendations also have to be approved by Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

“The minister has the last say regarding any parole board recommendation for parole for any prisoner.”

Ximiya confirmed that De Kock’s parole hearing, which was supposed to take place yesterday, had been postponed.

Ximiya was not immediately able to explain what had caused the postponement or confirm the new date set for the hearing.

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