02 February 2015

Crimes of our past back in the public eye

The crimes of South Africa’s past have been in the news lately, with Justice Minister Michael Masutha delivering important decisions on the continued incarceration of three notorious apartheid killers. Masutha surprised many by agreeing to the parole of Eugene de Kock, nicknamed “Prime Evil” for his role in master-minding the death and torture of anti-apartheid activists through his position as Head of Vlakplaas. SAHA’s collections hold extensive information about de Kock, including documentation from his legal representatives that covers his amnesty applications. You can read more about de Kock’s crimes and confessions by browsing the Julian Knight and Rudolph Jansen Collection.

Read all five volumes of Eugene de Kock's amnesty application from SAHA Collection AL2878: The Freedom of Information Programme Collection. Volume 1 part 1 begins here...

Masutha rejected Clive Derby-Lewis’s application for medical parole. Many South Africans feel that Derby-Lewis has not expressed sufficient remorse for his involvement in the assassination of Chris Hani – and that he has also not fully disclosed the details surrounding this crime. Added to this, there was some controversy surrounding the medical records that Derby-Lewis submitted to the Medical Parole Board.

Read Clive Derby-Lewis's TRC amnesty application from SAHA Collection AL2878: The Freedom of Information Programme Collection.

Ferdi Barnard’s application for parole remained undecided. Convicted of killing anti-apartheid activist David Webster, Barnard remains behind bars until Masutha has had time to consider his matter further. You can watch a video of Ferdi Barnard at the TRC at our dedicated SABC/TRC website here, and read more about the context of Webster’s assassination in SAHA’s  Emilia Potenza Collection.

David Webster’s funeral – from the SAHA Original Photograph Collection

Wouter Basson also continued to wage his battle against accountability by postponing his sentencing hearing at the Health Professions Council. This same Council found him guilty of unethical conduct in 2013, based on his actions as the Head of apartheid’s Chemical and Biological Weapons programme in the 1980s. 2015 marks 14 years of legal wrangling as Basson claims he acted as a soldier, not a doctor, when carrying out nefarious activities under Project Coast. SAHA has a whole collection covering the Chemical and Biological Warfare (CBW) Project. The next sentencing hearing is scheduled for 12 March 2015…

You can access many of Zaipro’s TRC-related cartoons at SAHA’s Zapiro Collection. 

Chris Hani’s death – from the SAHA Poster Collection