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Johannesburg - Former apartheid-era police colonel Eugene de Kock should have been granted parole, veteran journalist Max du Preez said in a front-page opinion piece in Beeld newspaper on Friday.
This was despite him being responsible for more deaths than any other person in South Africa today, said Du Preez, founding editor of anti-apartheid Afrikaans newspaper Vrye Weekblad, which exposed De Kock and apartheid death squads.
“We should not make Eugene de Kock out as a hero or a victim,” wrote Du Preez in Afrikaans.
“But De Kock, during his hearings before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, played open cards - he was almost the only one - and explained the context and political atmosphere of his actions.
“He exposed the roles of his political bosses and generals. He helped explain to the police and solve other human rights abuses. He has met with several of his victims' families and asked for forgiveness.
“I think De Kock should have been granted parole.”
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said on Thursday his parole had been denied because the families of some of his victims were not consulted during the parole process.
De Kock was in charge of a police “death squad” at Vlakplaas, outside Pretoria.
He was arrested in 1994 and convicted in the High Court in Pretoria in 1996.
He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for six murders and a further 212 years' imprisonment on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, culpable homicide, kidnapping, assault, and fraud. - Sapa