15 December 2011

Eugene de Kock and accomplice eligible for parole

De Kock and his partner in crime, Ferdie Barnard now qualify for parole. The two are serving maximum sentences for copious murder charges against political activists, including the assassination of David Webster, also an anti-apartheid activist.

De Kock was the commander of the notorious Vlakplass police unit, also known as C1 or counter-insurgency group responsible for the kidnapping, torture and murder of anti-apartheid activists. During his Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) amnesty hearing application, he blamed the national party government for ordering the murders, which included the infamous Cradock Four.

Ferdie Barnard was De Kock's fellow hit squad killer in the same police unit. The two were both found guilty of assassinating David Webster, in front of his home on May 1, 1989.

Webster was a respected academic and a firm believer in equality regardless of race, class or gender. He was actively involved with the Detainees' Parents' Support Committee (DPSC) which provided support to the many people detained without trial by the then apartheid government.

Webster was honoured by the University of Witwatersrand by naming one of its students' residential blocks after him. The David Webster Hall of Residence is now home to 217 Wits University students.

In July this year, a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria is what afforded these two prisoners, among many others, the eligibility for parole. This ruling stipulates that anyone sentenced to life imprisonment before October 1, 2004, may be considered for parole provided that they have served 13 years plus four months of their sentence. Since De Kock and Barnard have both served over 13 years, four months of their sentences, they are eligible.

SAHA is in possession of material relating to Eugene De Kock's TRC amnesty application in the following collection:

AL2878 The Freedom of Information Programme Collection
As well as material relating to both Ferdie Barnard and David Webster, should you be interested in this material, kindly contact our archives team at archives@saha.org.za