SA's Prime Evil claims Namibian retirement plot
Paroled South African apartheid killer Eugene De Kock has alleged in a prison social worker’s report that former Swapo fighters in Namibia had offered him a piece of land in a remote part of the Kavango, where he could spend the rest of his years in peace.
This claim has, however, been described as “fake” by Swapo’s war veteran association, who said former fighters themselves were still battling to get their hands on land and would not have offered De Kock a retirement plot.
De Kock was granted parole last week by South African prison authorities following his lengthy imprisonment for the murders and other crimes he committed as the head of the infamous Vlakplaas death squad during apartheid.
The social worker’s report, publicised by South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper yesterday, is attached to his parole application.
“Eugene received visits from delegations of the Swapo military force. He was offered a piece of land... and will grab the opportunity if the South African government does not want him to stay within South Africa’s borders. He stated that the soldiers were not having problem with each other, even though they fought against each other. The problem lies with the political leaders,” the report said.
De Kock, widely known as Prime Evil for the atrocities he committed for the apartheid regime, spent 20 years in prison for his crimes.
South Africa’s Justice Minister Michael Masutha said De Kock would be released in the interests of nation building.
The apartheid assassin, who is 66 years old, was sentenced in 1996 to two life terms and a further 212 years for the crimes he committed. He confessed to more than 100 murders, torture and fraud as part of a covert apartheid death squad that targeted those in the anti-apartheid liberation movement.
Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) Vice-President Ruusa Malulu said: “I have only learnt about that person on the news recently. Before that we have not heard of him and it is not true. It is fake and it defies all logic.
“How can PLAN fighters offer land or a plot to any person, while they themselves do not have access to land. We were fighting for land and independence. How can you offer something which you are fighting for. Even till now these PLAN veterans need land, so there is no way they could have offered land to him. It is not true. It is fake. It is a lie.”
Swapo Secretary-General Nangoloh Mbumba would not be drawn into commenting on the alleged plot offer to De Kock and whether in fact he had any information that could assist the ruling party.
“I am only an SG now. Back then (during the liberation struggle), I was not a high-ranking official in the party, so I don’t know everything that happened. There are senior people in the party who were there at the time and know what happened.”
The Rally For Democracy and Progress (RDP), whose leaders were part of Swapo during the liberation struggle, said De Kock should produce evidence that a plot had been offered to him in Namibia.
RDP Secretary-General Mike Kavekotora said: “Is difficult to comment on something like that. Sometimes when people want to get out of things, such as prison, they can formulate all types of stories. He could be a former Koevoet/SWATF (South West African Territorial Force) soldier, who knows the area very well and could be making up things just to get his parole. "Until such a time he comes up with evidence, it will be difficult to comment anything.”
All People Party (APP), which is also made up of former Swapo members, said the former liberation fighters had no right to offer De Kock land in Namibia.
APP President Ignatius Shixwameni said: “Those Swapo military men did not have the authority to give land to anyone. Traditional authorities have the responsibility of giving land to someone and not Swapo fighters. If he was given a plot, then I challenge him to come out with the entire story.”
He said De Kock should be challenged to disclose exactly who offered him the plot.
“He must not hide behind mysterious things and play hide and seek with the names of those who offered him the land. He must come out with the truth and tell us what happened before, here and in South Africa.
"If he does not, the truth will get him. He must come out and tell us where he hid the bodies of those killed. He must be thankful to the South African government for giving him parole. I would have wanted him to serve out his full prison term.”