Lamola: Correctional services not involved in sustaining Eugene de Kock

Andisiwe Makinana Political correspondent
Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. File photo.
Justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu/Sunday Times

The department of correctional services says it is not involved in the alleged payment of a salary to apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock by the state.

Questions about the matter should be directed to the State Security Agency (SSA), justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola said. He revealed that he had also not been aware that the state was paying De Kock.

“At the time of assuming my duties as the minister I was not aware of the allegations that [the] parolee is paid, as parolees do not receive payments from the department of correctional services,” he said.

Lamola said De Kock was not being paid or sustained by the department of correctional services and that questions about alleged services rendered to him should be directed to the SSA.

Lamola said upon being placed on parole, De Kock remained in the custody of the SSA as per his parole conditions.

De Kock was subject to parole conditions as contemplated in section 52 of the Correctional Services Act, and section 52(1)(r) of the act was also applicable, he said.

Section 52 of the act is about conditions relating to community corrections and section 52(1)(r) is about other conditions that may be appropriate in the circumstances.

The minister was responding to a written question from EFF MP Constance Nonhlanhla Mkhonto who asked for details of De Kock's parole conditions.

Mkhonto asked whether Lamola had been informed that De Kock was sustained and paid by the state after his release from jail and why he had been on the  state’s payroll.

The Zondo commission into state capture heard last January that the ANC government had allegedly financed De Kock after his parole.

According to evidence from unidentified witnesses, dubbed “Mr Y” through a written affidavit and “Ms K” in oral evidence, the government, through SSA's “Operation Lock”, spent R200,000 on De Kock every month after his release.

The two were SSA spooks at the time of giving evidence and their real identities were withheld.

They did not reveal the reasons for the expenditure but said it included a state-sponsored safe house for the assassin and a R40,000 monthly “salary”.

In his affidavit to the commission, Sydney Mufamadi, who chaired the high-level review panel that investigated the SSA, claimed that Operation Lock involved providing a safe house and protection for De Kock when he was released from prison.

He said this was done “apparently on the basis of a memorandum of understanding with the department of correctional services”.

The panel, according to Mufamadi, was aware that before De Kock's release on parole, he had been assisting the NPA's missing persons task team to locate the bodies of murdered MK cadres.

According to the task team, the SSA had blocked access to De Kock for some time, he said.

De Kock is a former colonel in the police force of the apartheid regime. Dubbed Prime Evil, he commanded the infamous Vlakplaas unit which specialised in executing and torturing anti-apartheid activists.

He was released on parole in 2015, having been sentenced to more than 200 years behind bars in 1996.

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