Apartheid killers to get parole

2014-05-28 12:31

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Apartheid-era killers Eugene de Kock and Clive Derby-Lewis could both be released from prison within weeks.

An order compelling the minister of justice and correctional services to make a decision about De Kock’s release within the next 30 days was granted today in the North Gauteng High Court.

A source close to the negotiations said Derby-Lewis would be granted parole at the same time as De Kock.

De Kock is serving a 212-year prison sentence for hunting down, torturing and killing hundreds of anti-apartheid activists as the leader of the notorious Vlakplaas police death squad. His trial and conviction followed a tell-all before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996, which denied him amnesty.

Derby-Lewis has served 20 years of a 25-year sentence for gunning down Chris Hani in 1993. He has terminal lung cancer and suffered two attacks from fellow-inmates at Pretoria Central Prison in recent months.

Both men have been refused parole in the past.

The source close to the negotiations to release the two said the decision to grant both men parole simultaneously was made by President Jacob Zuma.

Correctional Supervision and Parole Review Board chairperson Judge Siraj Desai approved De Kock’s parole application in November last year and recommended that he be released.

All that needed to be done to grant De Kock freedom was for former correctional services minister S’bu Ndebele to approve the parole.

Ndebele has been replaced by Michael Masutha.

De Kock’s legal team was given an undertaking that a decision would be made by May 12, but after receiving no further communication from Ndebele’s office, his legal team then brought an application compelling the minister to make a decision.

This morning’s application was not opposed by the state.

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