Cosatu rejects parole for Derby-Lewis
Johannesburg - Parole should not be granted to the convicted killers of SA Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani, Cosatu said on Sunday after a weekend newspaper report that one of them might "walk free".
Hani was shot in the head as he climbed out of his car outside his home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, on April 10 1993 by Polish immigrant Janusz Walus, using a pistol leant to him by Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis.
Six months later, Walus and Derby-Lewis were convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and were sentenced to death, however this was commuted to life imprisonment in 1995, when capital punishment was abolished.
Cosatu said on Sunday, that it was "seriously concerned" at a report in the Saturday Star under the headline 'Hani Killer to walk free'.
"Cosatu remains adamant that parole should not be granted to the convicted murderers of Comrade Chris Hani," it said.
The Saturday Star reported that the parole board had recommended for a second time that Derby-Lewis be freed, and with a decision expected next month, he could be out by Christmas.
His last application for parole was dismissed by the High Court in Pretoria in March last year.
Cosatu said it backed the SACP's view that Derby-Lewis should not be paroled unless and until he had fully disclosed the identities of all those involved in Hani's murder.
"We shall therefore continue to oppose any application he makes for parole," it said.
In 1996, Derby-Lewis and Walus applied to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) for amnesty for the murder.
However, on April 7 1999, the TRC's amnesty committee rejected the application on the basis that they had failed to prove the killing was politically motivated, and had failed to make a full disclosure, another prerequisite for amnesty.
On Saturday, the correctional services department dismissed as "false" the claim, in the Saturday Star, that a decision on parole would be made next month.
"It is also false to say that he (Derby-Lewis) will be out by Christmas," said ministerial spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga.
In determining whether parole was granted to a prisoner serving a life sentence, the parole board first made a recommendation to the National Council on Correctional Services (NCCS), which then made a recommendation to the minister of correctional services, who in turn made a decision based on these recommendations, he said.
The parole board had made a recommendation regarding Derby-Lewis, but this information had not yet reached the NCCS.
Its next sitting would be at the end of October, when Derby-Lewis's case might be tabled, said Mbananga.
Meanwhile, the SACP has said it views the reports of parole for Derby-Lewis as "part of a campaign to manipulate the emotions of the public".
"There is a devious element that is hell-bent on creating a public hype around this thing," SACP spokesperson Malesela Maleka said on Saturday. It was a campaign to increase pressure on officials to release him.
The SACP stood by its objection to parole until Derby-Lewis had fully disclosed everything he knew about Hani's assassination, Maleka said.
"We will oppose any plans, through any means available to us, to grant this cold assassin's parole," he said.