Prison authorities intend challenging a High Court order allowing a convicted killer to be on day parole from January 1 next year.
"The department [of correctional services] is studying the court order with the view to challenge the decision," it said in a statement on Wednesday.
The High Court in Pretoria reportedly granted Cornelius van Wyk parole after the correctional services minister failed to decide four months ago whether to release him or not.
He was sentenced to three life terms in September 1994 for three killings in 1991 in Makhado, Limpopo.
He was 20-years-old at the time and was part of the right-wing National Socialist Partisans.
The department reportedly refused to consider his application for parole, but Van Wyk took the matter to court and an order was made that the department deal with him under the parole law in effect when he was sentenced.
The law allowed him to apply for parole after a shorter time in jail than the current law for those sentenced to life.
The parole board recommended that he be granted parole, but the minister failed to make a final decision. Van Wyk then went to court to demand that a decision be made.
On August 28, the court gave the minister a month to decide, but the deadline lapsed with no decision.
Van Wyk's lawyer Julian Knight, said the minister would have to explain why he disregarded a court order.
The department said the National Council on Correctional Services (NCCS), chaired by Judge Siraj Desai, had considered Van Wyk's case.
"The NCCS considers parole applications for lifers on a regular basis for recommendation to the minister, and their last sitting for 2012 was from 16 October to 23 November 2012," it said.
"Upon receipt of advice and recommendations from the NCCS, the minister exercises due consideration."
The ministry said it was mandated by law to manage and maintain a system of parole applicable to sentenced offenders.
"Parole is not a right, and is always subject to specific conditions, which an offender must comply with."