When Chris Hani was murdered in cold blood 21 years ago, during the most fragile and explosive time of our yet-unborn democracy; we all wondered what would become of South Africa…a nation yet unborn?
I was in church that day when the news broke out of Chris Hani’s murder…were we shocked? The news brought so much coldness and almost explosive fear in our hearts, we were shuttered and suddenly, the rest of SA’s atmosphere was polluted with clouds of emerging “civil war”.
South Africa was bleeding with racial hatred, the future looked too gloomy and dark.
It was that serious and that scary in Soweto, people were furious and stirred up with vengeance; some withdrew themselves to try and contemplate the foreseeable dark future beckoning! I was miffed up and all confused and immediately started counting the losses we stood to lose as a country; after so much gains and commitment from our leaders across the colour line, tried to unite us. SA was travailing…
As young people of the day, we started debating the way forward and possible bloodless solutions that would help SA survive this most brutal political murder in our history. Chris Hani was no ordinary leader, he was a man of principle and a much disciplined commander; he was imbued with abilities of a general…people loved and respected him.
Nelson Mandela was the heartbeat of the nation while Hani remained the voice of the people. As that voice, he was not afraid to call a spade, a spade. He was a fearless leader; committed to a non racial South Africa.
Black people understood what he stood for, while white people were too scared and divided over what to make of the man as he stood right in front of the whole nation.
In every TV or radio interview that featured Hani as one of the guests, drama became the order of the day…I saw white people turning red and purple on live TV. And did I love this!! It was brand new and fresh and very enterprising to watch the new SA going through birth pains. Fascinating!
Well, of course, we all know on that fateful Sunday morning in Dawn Park; Chris was mercilessly gunned in cold blood by the evil assassin (Walush) while Clive waited in their gateway car. In all this confusion, a white neighbour of Chris Hani spotted the suspect’s car and passed the information to the police that led to the arrest of the two condemned men today.
They were duly tried and sentenced to life without parole, normal or good behavioural parole, that is. Chris’ death was moaned and laid to rest. Thank God for the good leadership of the day, that did all the tricks to save SA from imminent civil war! It is hard to believe that SA used to have such great leaders, men and women of integrity, who put their country first, not so long ago….Today: we are left speechless for the apparent lack thereof!
The condemned Clive tried his luck at the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), applied for political amnesty but was denied for refusing to reveal the whole truth and motivation behind Chris Hani’s execution. So the man was remanded to life imprisonment. Justice was done and carried out accordingly without reserve.
Please bear in mind, that the TRC rejected Clive’s application based on lack of truthfulness in his testament…that came and went. TRC is now history and has no bearing to what must happen to Clive today!
Independent doctors have all agreed that Clive now qualifies to be released from prison due to his advanced stage of chronic disease (cancer, age-related complications, etc) as provided for all State prisoners under the rule and government of RSA.
Medical parole has no political bearings or restrictions and/or objections from the bereaved family or political party. Justice for all must be applied without prejudice.
It doesn’t matter whether the guilty are cold-blooded killers (as argued by Tokyo Sexwale recently) or the worst murders in the history of SA. The medical parole provision is and must be applicable to ALL prisoners at all times, regardless of the origin of their crimes; including Clive Derby-Lewis.
All are: and All must be treated equally under the Law; yes, the same applicable Law must be upheld for All. I am not an attorney, but I do understand what medical parole means.
With due respect to Mrs Dimpho Hani, as I have already stated above; how we loved Chris and moaned his death…it is time to move on!
The law must be applied by the courts of Justice without reserve and special treatment to any group of people including the victim’s family. Clive is a State prisoner and it must be up to State to release the condemned as dictated by our sovereign Law; and certainly, Clive’s release under medical parole should be no exception to the rule.
Medical parole has nothing to do with confessing the truth as Sexwale and Vavi were fiercely debating and objecting to his release.
Let’s all respect the Law and stop bitching about how unhappy we are when it’s applied within the frames and tenets of Justice.
We were all happy when these two were duly tried and sentenced, so let us accept it when Justice seeks to complete the same process based on different applicable law; no matter how hard and unpalatable we find it to be.
So, please release the man, he qualifies in terms of medical parole; it’s his right too. Law applies to all, bond or free…