Masutha receives De Kock parole challenge

Johannesburg - The office of Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha on Thursday confirmed that he had received an application to review the parole application of apartheid-era assassin Eugene de Kock.

Last month Masutha announced that De Kock would have to wait another year before his application was reconsidered - to allow the families of his victims to be consulted.

De Kock's lawyers on Wednesday indicated that they would challenge Masutha's ruling.

Decision 'rational'

The minister's office on Thursday said it stood by Masutha's decision.

"We believe [the] minister's decision was rational and taken after a proper assessment of facts before him and [we] will oppose their application in defence of his decision," said spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga.

De Kock was in charge of a police "death squad" at Vlakplaas, outside Pretoria, and was arrested in mid-1994. He was convicted and sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria in 1996.

He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for six murders and to a further 212 years imprisonment on charges including conspiracy to commit murder, culpable homicide, kidnapping, assault, and fraud.

Now aged 65, De Kock has currently served 18 years in prison.