‘De Kock plotted my assassination, but he deserves parole’

2015-01-31 08:00

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Prominent advocate Dumisa Ntsebeza said he should be the last person who would want Vlakplaas death squad leader Eugene De Kock to be freed.

“De Kock admitted having plotted my assassination, he had Vlakplaas operatives out looking for me.

“He succeeded in the assassination of my cousin, Bathandwa Ndondo, who was collected from my home in Cala [in the Eastern Cape] by security operatives on September 24 1985. Thirty minutes later he was shot dead.”

Yet Ntsebeza – a human rights lawyer in the 1980s and later, head of the investigating unit at the Truth & Reconciliation Commission – said it was “high time” he was released.

The rule of law needed to apply and should not be conflated with political factors.

“Over and above the fact that he must have met the criteria [for parole], he has shown himself to be remorseful.

“De Kock has gone out of his way throughout his period of imprisonment to furnish the NPA with the facts in cases which would otherwise not be available.”

Through the co-operation of De Kock, the prosecution authority’s Missing Persons Unit was able to piece together many apartheid-era cases.

“Given the many scoundrels who were out there who ought to have applied for amnesty and didn’t, and who ought to have been prosecuted and who weren’t, I think there is a sense in which one feels a great sense of injustice, even for De Kock.”

When asked if he had forgiven him, Ntsebeza said there was not a simple yes or no answer.

“I have forgiven a lot of people, my participation in the TRC is an indication of my preparedness to forgive.

“I don’t regret that he was sentenced to the years he was, but he has paid his dues. He cannot bring back my cousin. But I have no time, let alone the inclination, to wallow in grudges. If I were to see him now, would I take him to dinner? No. Would I greet him? Yes. If he came and said he wanted an interview, I would grant him the privilege.”

The family commemorates the anniversary of his cousin’s death annually on Heritage Day.

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