Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha speaks to the media. Photo: Siyabulela Duda

Johannesburg - Former police death squad commander Eugene de Kock can rest assured that, in the next few days, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha will decide whether to free him on parole.

Masutha’s spokesman, Mthunzi Mhaga, yesterday refused to provide detailed comment, saying the minister would communicate on any developments.

However, he confirmed Masutha would “definitely comply” with the order the North Gauteng High Court granted in May, which compelled him to finalise the issue within 30 court days.

The minister is not obliged to grant De Kock parole.

However, if he accepts what is believed to be a positive recommendation of the National Council of Correctional Services (NCCS), De Kock could be released on or before Thursday.

Whatever he decides, it is likely to be met with contention – either from the public if he is released, or from De Kock’s legal team, who have vowed to turn to the courts if he is refused parole.

It is believed the NCCS made its recommendation last year, but that Masutha’s predecessor, Sibusiso Ndebele, didn’t make a final decision by the time he lost his cabinet seat.

De Kock, dubbed “Prime Evil”, has been in prison for about two decades.

He was sentenced in October 1996 by former Pretoria Deputy Judge President Willem van der Merwe to two life terms, plus a further 212 years.

De Kock claimed he would never have committed the crimes if it was not for the political situation at the time, the position he was placed in, and the orders he received from his superiors.

Weekend Argus