Derby-Lewis not denied treatment - dept
Johannesburg - There is no merit in media reports that convicted murderer Clive Derby-Lewis was being refused urgent hospital treatment, the department of correctional services said on Wednesday.
"Clive Derby-Lewis went to a private facility last year and he still prefers to utilise a private surgeon," said spokesperson Sibongile Khumalo.
"We cannot prevent or deny a request from an inmate if they wish to see a private medical practitioner," she said.
On Tuesday Eyewitness News reported that the department had asked Derby-Lewis's family to pay R80 000 for his transport and security needs before it would take him to hospital.
However, Khumalo said Derby-Lewis - who was convicted of killing SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani - had signed a document acknowledging that if he insisted on private healthcare, he would bear all costs involved.
"The financial implications of his impending hospitalisation have been communicated to him, his wife and legal representatives," said Khumalo.
She would neither confirm nor deny how "impending" a hospital stay was, or how "urgent" his health situation was.
Derby-Lewis has undergone treatment for prostate cancer and has had gangrenous tissue removed from his leg.
Eyewitness News reported on Tuesday that he had also been diagnosed with heart failure.
Khumalo said that if private medical care was needed and once payment had been made, he would be transported at his cost to any private hospital of his choice.
Derby-Lewis has repeatedly been denied bail on medical grounds and is serving a life sentence for the murder of Hani in 1993.
Derby-Lewis's lawyer Marius Coertze could not immediately be reached for comment.