Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Clive Derby-Lewis and 'Prime Evil' - Will the Cells Be Unlocked?

analysis

Spare a thought for the new Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha. In addition to the already weighty portfolio he has just been handed, Masutha is faced almost immediately with a significant decision to make.

The North Gauteng High Court ruled on Wednesday that the minister must look into whether to release Vlakplaas death-squad leader Eugene De Kock within the next 30 days. It's being reported that Chris Hani's killer Clive Derby-Lewis would probably be granted parole at the same time. Derby-Lewis has served 21 years of a 25-year sentence; De Kock, 20 of a 212-year sentence. Whatever Masutha decides, it could be a political hot potato.

Judge Thokozile Masipa, it appears, is not spending the month-long break in the Oscar Pistorius trial kicking back. On Wednesday Masipa granted an order which gives the new Correctional Services Minister under a month to decide whether infamous Apartheid killer Eugene De Kock should be released from prison on parole.

This forces Masutha to make a decision that his predecessor fudged. Previous Correctional Services Minister S'bu Ndebele was recommended by the National Council for Correctional Services to grant De Kock parole, but failed to make a call on...

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