Parliament - Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha declined to discuss details of Eugene de Kock's failed parole application on Wednesday.
He would only confirm that the families of the victims of the apartheid state assassin had not been consulted.
“I do have constraints in discussing the De Kock matter because the contents of the profile of an applicant for parole is not open to public scrutiny and therefore I am not at liberty to discuss details of what the contents were,” Masutha said when asked whether the families had opposed the parole bid.
“Certainly upon perusing the application I noticed that there was something that was not quite convincing about whether or not the families had been consulted,” he told reporters in Parliament.
Masutha went on to recount that his now widely reported meeting with relatives of De Kock's victims on July 4 confirmed they had not been consulted.
“Each one stood up and said they were not consulted.”
The minister was briefing reporters ahead of his budget vote speech in Parliament, and stressed that the department was seeking to facilitate input from victims and their families in the parole process.
In November, it planned to launch a video-conferencing system in all 53 parole offices in the country to enable officials to consult families at long distance.
Masutha said though “phenomenal progress was made since 2009 in mobilising victims to participate in parole hearings... from 108 to 1125 cases per year”, this still translated into only five percent of successful parole hearings.
Masutha last week said De Kock's case could be reviewed again in a year, instead of the usual two-year period.
De Kock, known as “Prime Evil”, confessed to crimes and was sentenced in 1996 to two life terms plus another 212 years. He was convicted on murder and other charges linked to his role as head of the secret C10 police unit stationed at Vlakplaas, outside Pretoria.
He has maintained that he acted on political orders from apartheid regime leaders who suffered no sanction.