Monday, January 04, 2010

Eugene de Kock: Is His Release A Risky Proposition?

Despite my indifference regarding Eugene de Kock's apparent pending release, I find the ensuing article biased. No doubt Eugene de Kock is a despicable human being, but what about Robert Macbride, or the number of other ANC foot soldiers who enjoy freedom? Why should de Kock be singled out? It isn't palatable to enforce a double standard.

The Sunday Independent clearly has a feeling in its waters that President Jacob Zuma will actually go ahead and do it - pardon perhaps the two most controversial people in the country's recent history.

Much has already been said about Schabir Shaik, who's already out of prison on a sort-of pardon, but the case of Eugene de Kock deserves a much closer look. Just in case you weren't with us in the early- to mid-1990s, De Kock was the poster boy for apartheid killers. He was THE guy who actually did it; plotted, planned and executed anti-apartheid activists. You know, the ANC members. There was no “someone else actually pulled the trigger” for him. And the foot-soldier argument didn't wash either, because he ruled the roost at Vlakplaas with pretty much absolute power. He ran the place, making sure the people who were to be killed were actually killed. He was there because he was very good at the business of killing and was quite happy to do it.

But he has repeatedly said he is prepared to name names, to identify the people in the apartheid government who actually pointed a finger at a name on a hit-list, and said, “maak daai een dood” (“kill that one”). He was the link between the politician making the decision that someone should be removed, and the removal itself. That places him in a very powerful position: would he be, if released, prepared to actually go ahead and “out” all of them? And if that's the case, who would he name? The biggie who may be a little concerned is FW de Klerk. (De Kock has already publicly said that de Klerk's “hands were soaked with blood”.)

Perhaps Zuma is thinking De Klerk must stop trying to interfere in current politics after his comments about the Constitution last year.

But if Zuma does release De Kock, and if he does name names, what will happen? (It's already happening, regardless of whether de Kock is released. Have a look at the number of white murder victims) The fact is we don't believe this country is really in a reconciliatory mood. Jonathan Jansen, rector of the University of the Free State, can attest to that after what happened with his decision to pardon the Reitz Four. Obviously, Zuma will have Julius Malema in his back pocket before he does anything about De Kock.

The main theory doing the rounds is that Zuma would do it so he could pardon Shaik at the same time and no-one will notice (I don't think JZ gives a shit. He will release Shaik, regardless; but he wants to be seen as being "fair"). The theory itself does sound pretty dumb, because, well, everyone would notice it - and Zuma is very much aware of that. The story would be sandwiched in with De Kock, sure, but Shaik-outrage will not be lost either. (If Zuma really wanted to help Schabir out, with no mess or fuss, he would be better advised to do it a minute before kick-off in the World Cup. We wouldn't notice it for about a month then.)

But De Kock isn't going to bring warm fuzzy feelings about peace and harmony with his release. He's going to stir up a hornet's nest of emotions. Not rational debate, but emotions. We're all for a good argument about racial reconciliation, but that's not what will happen. We'll get lots of shouting and anger and frustration, for all the right reasons. (So what are you saying exactly? No Apartheid era personnel should be favoured, lest the whites get all fired up?) If Zuma wants to burnish his credentials as a unifier, a reconciler, he is on the wrong track. We already respect him for that, and he runs the risk of actually hurting those credentials with De Kock (We? You don't speak for me. I don't have any respect for JZ). What is pretty clear to us is that De Kock is nobody's hero. There may be a few crack-pots who still break out the Vierkleur on the Day of the Vow (Ah yes, mock the white history, but you wouldn't have the balls to do the same with, say, black history, you disingenuous schmuck) and will think fondly of him, but generally speaking, there's no group of people who will welcome his release. Not much of an upside there, either. Also, De Kock himself has claimed he's not a psychopath, which would remove the chance of some kind of absolution based on his mental state. Wherever one looks, there's only one response: NO.

South Africans have become pretty good at moving on with our lives. The big political issues have all been about the future rather than the past. Dredging this up is not going to lead to a debate that could help us deal with the past (This has nothing to do with the past, or reconciliation. It is all about springing Shaik). It's just likely to re-open the raw emotions we've been trying to forget. And they wouldn't even begin to paper over the gaping holes in credibility that a pardon for Shaik would create. It would just make it worse.

Zuma's officials aren't speaking about this on the record at all at the moment. There have been a few hints. Perhaps someone is floating a balloon, to see how the country would react. If that's what is happening, then the message should go to the bridegroom at Nkandla. Don't do it. Both decisions would be wrong. And releasing De Kock could backfire horribly. He's not called 'Prime Evil' for nothing. This could be your “Prime Mistake”, Mr President.

17 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The only reason for his release is to pave the way for Shaik's pardon.

Shaik has threatened to spill the beans and thus his pardon has become a priority.

Dachshund said...

If this is what Zuma wants to do then it would seem that it's more than a case of Zuma's brains being in the wrong place lately what with the recent celebrations with the fifth wife and all.

He would have to be politically insane to release Eugene de Kock.

Of course the apartheid regime employed a thug and a sadist to do its dirty work for them, and while it's true that de Kock will badmouth anyone he can whether he's in prison or not, the question is whether he should be allowed back into the limelight.

De Kock's release will infuriate everyone, black, Indian, coloured and white because it's so obviously morally wrong. Shaik's release will not come as much of a surprise, he's practically free anyway, but for Zuma to bring out this kind of Molotov cocktail at the same time is going to cause the kind of explosion that will leave him wiping the brown stuff off his face for a very long time.

It could be a further big divider within the ANC and even fatal to Zuma's presidency. We currently have a modicum of fragile stability with the government which should rather be preserved, despite all the ANC's other faults.

A display of this kind of gratuitous hubris on Zuma's part would NOT be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a deeper motive than purely cover for Shaik. He is sending a message to someone; not so much a message of reconciliation to right wing whites; more of nuanced threat to his political opponents within the ANC/SACP? Sort of like the horsehead scene in "The Godfather". Maybe the message is to Shaik himself.


Dachshund said...

Anon 5:30 PM: Golly, I never thought of that. The head in the bed. That's what happens when you don't put bricks under the base.

Sakkie de Kok said...

Stephen Grootes is a white traitor.
Eugene de Kock did a dirty job, so what? At the end of the day he was a soldier doing his duty for volk and fatherland. Nothing wrong with that. What was wrong was that he was left to carry the can when the others switched sides.
My father in law, a German, was a proud member of the Waffen-SS, and killed literally hundreds of men in the Russian campaign in what he saw as his patriotic duty during WW2. That didn´t make him a criminal. He wasn´t thrown in jail at the end of hostilities, and his countrymen didn´t hurl abuse at him and wish to see him interned for the rest of his life.
SA was at war, and Eugene de Kock was a foot-soldier doing his patriotic duty. Any white SOB baying for his blood now is a traitor and a dog.
Fuck you Stephen Grootes. May you rot in hell you lousy bastard.

Vanilla Ice said...

@Sakkie. Is there a family connection, or is the association only metaphorically phallic?

Good to have you back. We would all like to see your test scores though.

Sakkie de Kok said...

Thanks V.I. Ja, it´s that second one LOL.

Anonymous said...

Will Zuma pardon Shaik because of loyalty to a crime buddy, or whether feels Shaik may still be able to do him (or others) damage? A legitimate Court established a "generally corrupt relationship between the two" But Zuma has effectively killed the NPA and scorpions stone dead, so Shaik can probably do zilch except make a helluva noise. I hope Zuma decides to abandon his buddy and let him rot in his home under house arrest until he dies. I will love to see that little farce play out over the next few years; Shaik constantly hounded by the press making more and more noise until the frustration pops a blood vessel in his brain.

Anonymous said...

De Kock and people such as Basson had been nothing short of foot soldiers. You cant keep them accountable for what was done as they performed their task for the government.

Why do we always forget that people such as De Klerk, Botha, Malan and others gave the orders. Today we are happy to give them awards and 'honour' them yet the people who did what they wanted get prison sentences.

Zuma is going to use this opportunity to get revenge. Not only on ANC members who had been turncoats under aparthied but put certain people back in their place with fear of them being 'outed' for what was done.

Dachshund, do you have any appreciation how much shit goes on under the cover of darkness to keep your ass safe?

Exzanian said...

Shaik has already been promised a pardon. Zuma is trying to find a way to do it the easiest way, ala chameleon. He cannot think for himself, and needs to take the advice of dozens of advisors before he makes a decision. He must be quite befuddled to find himself fiddling with this pretty large firecracker right now. Plus he is having a good time with Mrs "peaches & cream" at the moment, so expect some delays until he can get that rusty old brain 67 into gear.

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get a biography on Eugene de Kok, his age, born etc, but no luck on the web. Any ideas?

Dachshund said...

" ... do you have any appreciation how much shit goes on under the cover of darkness to keep your ass safe?" Surely that should read in the past tense, if nobody's looking after our white butts now? We'll soon be reminded of what kind of shit went on if de Kock is pardoned.

Anonymous said...

Past tense? LOL!

Anonymous said...

Interesting how people judge and give opinions about others on grounds of what they have read in the press. You who call Eugene a sadist, a killer, mad, psychopath...have you ever met him? do you know the whole story? He is NOT a racist - he was (as the government at the time) against TERRORISM - whether black or white!

Anonymous: there is a book out about Eugene, mostly the author's perception of what was told to him, but never the less. "a long night's damage"

Anonymous said...

Das[c]hund, you scared he can say something about you?
He was tested by two prominent pshyciatrists and found NOT to be a psychopath. That can not be said of the rest of those outside or Dirk Coetzee you so admire.Nor about you, yourself.Yet,you have no problem with them walking the streets with you or eating in the same restaurant.Anon

Anonymous said...

Those who have committed these grave deeds will bear the wrath of God during judgement day. I hope for De Kocks sake, that he asked for forgiveness from God for his heinous deeds or else he will burn in fire and brimstone. Also what we must realise is that if our Father above can forgive and forget ou sins, why can't we do the same. I say if he is guinely remorseful, forgive the man, who are we to judge less we be judged. GOD bless those who can forgive and forget, great is your reward in heaven.

eunice said...

Please leave him alone. You don't know anything about him.