We didn't invite Eugene de Kock to Franschhoek festival - organiser

2016-05-16 07:11
Eugene de Kock spotted in Franschoek by SABC's Jacques Steenkamp (Twitter)

Eugene de Kock spotted in Franschoek by SABC's Jacques Steenkamp (Twitter)

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Cape Town – The organiser of the Franschhoek Literary Festival, Ann Donald, said she was surprised to see apartheid-era death squad leader Eugene de Kock at the Franschhoek Literary festival at the weekend. 

The former South African police colonel was spotted at the festival on both Friday and Saturday.

"We did not invite him. We were shocked as everyone else. We had no anticipation of him being there," Donald told News24. 

The former policeman was in the crowd on Saturday morning, while Judge Dennis Davis asked journalists Alex Eliseev and Jacques Steenkamp as well as Anemari Jansen - who wrote a book about De Kock - about the challenges facing investigators when piecing a case together.

Blending into the crowd

One journalist said De Kock appeared to have been trying to blend into the crowd.

"He looked like he didn't want anyone to recognise him at all. Once he was spotted, he told us that one of the conditions of his parole was not to speak to the media," the journalist said.

De Kock was seen walking around the venue of the three-day conference with Jansen earlier in the day.

A local resident said she had spotted him in the room where participants and media collected tags on Friday, but had not approached him.

De Kock was reportedly invited to an invitation-only event later on Saturday night. It was not immediately clear whether he had attended the event.

Presence 'upsetting'

Acclaimed author Lauren Beukes also told the publication that she asked De Kock to leave as his presence was upsetting some of the people at the event.

"There were black writers and publishers who were visibly upset that he was there, some of whom were victims of his operation, who had lost family members," Beukes told the publication.

"I walked over to him standing by the stairs and asked if he was Eugene de Kock. I said, 'It's inappropriate that you are here. People are in tears that you are here and I think you should leave'."

"He said 'Thank you for telling me' and left," the website quoted her as saying.

Read more on:    eugene de kock  |  cape town

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