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'Prime Evil' to challenge parole rejection

Eugene de Kock’s lawyer says the wrong law was used in the decision to reject his parole application.

FILE: Eugene De Kock at the amnesty hearing of two former Vlakplaas operatives at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 17 November 1997. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Justice Department has confirmed it will oppose a bid by former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock to legally challenge the decision to reject his parole application.

Last month Minister Michael Masutha said he would not grant de Kock parole because the families of his victims had not been consulted.

De Kock, who was nicknamed Prime Evil, served as a policeman under the apartheid regime.

His attorney Julian Knight says he has started the process of challenging that decision, saying Masutha used the wrong law.

The department's Mthunzi Mhaga says, "Based on a fair assessment and a proper application of the mine of the minister to the facts before him, that decision is in accordance with the law and we will definitely oppose it."

Prime Evil, who is believed to have been responsible for more atrocities than any other man in the efforts to preserve white minority rule in South Africa, became eligible for release last month after 20 years behind bars.

He was arrested before former president Nelson Mandela was inaugurated in 1994 for killing scores of anti-apartheid activists.

Two years later in 1996, he was sentenced to 212 years for crimes against humanity.