DA: Eugene de Kock must stay behind bars

Reacting to media reports that the release of convicted apartheid-era killer Eugene de Kock is imminent, the Democratic Alliance (DA) insists that he should not be released. “It is unfathomable that such an individual could even be considered for a pardon,” the party said on Friday.

James Selfe, who speaks on correctional services for the DA, said that De Kock is serving a very serious sentence for very serious crimes, and must stay in jail.

He said it is not in the best interests of the criminal justice system. “De Kock was convicted of six murders and 89 other criminal offences and is serving a 212-year sentence,” Selfe said. “De Kock committed horrendous crimes and should be punished for them. He has served just 13 years of two life sentences—justice has not been served.

“The notion that a De Kock pardon could somehow be used as a trade-off for a Shaik pardon would confirm the moral decay within the ANC government as it would undermine the rule of law, sending out the message that even a prisoner who has been convicted of heinous crimes can be released from prison as a political bargaining chip.”

Selfe added that it is not in the best interests of reconciliation. “De Kock applied for amnesty with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission [TRC] and was rejected on the majority of his applications. If he had any information on apartheid atrocities, he surely would have voiced them during the TRC trials to avoid having to go to jail,” Selfe said.

“It is disingenuous to now use any information as a bargaining tool to get off the hook—apart from anything else, we have no evidence at all that any information that he could make available would be sufficiently important as to serve as a basis for pardoning an apartheid-era murderer.”

It is also not in the best interests of the public, Selfe said. “Releasing De Kock could never be in the public interest. Instead, it could only serve to open old sores, and insult ordinary South Africans who believe that killers must stay in jail, where they belong.”—I-Net Bridge

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