Eugene De Kock is out of prison, but South Africa’s most infamous assassin will soon be on an urgent mission to help locate the burial sites of dozens of apartheid’s missing victims.
After spending nearly 20 years in prison in Pretoria, it is believed the man dubbed Prime Evil is in a safe house, having been relocated there two days before it was announced he would be freed.
Soon, De Kock could be assisting the National Prosecuting Authority’s missing persons task team to find those who disappeared during apartheid.
This search has become a race against time as family members are dying without the knowledge of what happened to their loved ones.
De Kock will be assisting in at least 30 to 50 cases dating back as far as the 1970s.
“He has given us an undertaking that he will help us,” NPA missing persons task team head Madeleine Fullard said.
There were between 30 and 50 cases that involved people, who were abducted by the security forces, she said. While De Kock was not involved in these incidents, he could help them access information on these cases which are from the 1970s and 1980s. It is not the first time that De Kock has helped Fullard and her missing persons team.
On Friday, Justice Minister Michael Masutha said one of the reasons leading to him deciding to release the former Vlakplaas head, was for the help he had given to the task team.
Fullard said that investigators had taken De Kock out of jail more than 20 times under armed guard, so that he could meet former security force colleagues and convince them to talk.
“Logistically now it is going to make it easier to work on cases,” Fullard said.
It was on one of the trips that De Kock and other former Vlakplaas members pointed out where Phemelo Ntehelang had been buried on a farm near Zeerust in 1989. Ntehelang was killed at Vlakplaas in July 1989.
“It took us a week to find the body, which was still wrapped in a blanket from Vlakplaas,” Fullard said.
While details of De Kock’s parole terms have not been released by officials, Jacques Sibomana, spokesman for the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro), said assistance could include programmes to help him integrate, or even seeing a psychologist.