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Families of de Kock victims 'properly consulted'

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said these consultations helped him reach the parole decision.

FILE: Eugene De Kock a former Vlakplaas commander speaks to the judge at a Truth and Reconcilation commision 24 May 1999 in Pretoria. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The families of Eugene de Kock's victims were properly consulted in deciding whether to grant him parole, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said on Friday.

He announced de Kock would be released from prison on medical grounds but the time and date of his release would be kept secret.

De Kock, also known as 'Prime Evil', headed the Vlakplaas Hit Squad for the apartheid government.

He was sentenced to 212 years in prison in 1996 for conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and assault.

Masutha further revealed Clive Derby-Lewis was not granted parole for his role in the 1993 murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

The minister said his decision was based on the fact Derby-Lewis had been admitted to a hospital under a false name.

Derby-Lewis was sentenced to death for murdering Hani but the sentence was later changed to life imprisonment.

Masutha said in affidavits, Derby-Lewis submitted to the parole board that he used a pseudonym for security reasons when admitted to hospital.

The minister said the application was denied primarily because Derby-Lewis's medical condition did not meet the criteria for release.

A third parole application dealt with by Masutha was that of Ferdi Barnard, who carried out assassinations for the notorious Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) unit.

Barnard was convicted for murder and was handed two life sentences.

The minister said he was unable to make a decision on Barnard at this stage due to of a lack of information.

"An agreement has been reached with the parties and the dates will be extended. No decision has been made at this stage."