‘Derby-Lewis should thank democracy’

2015-02-01 15:00

Chris Hani’s murderer, Clive Derby-Lewis, should thank democratic South Africa, the same country he conspired to plunge into turmoil, for being alive today after new laws saved him from a definite death sentence.

This is what his biggest detractor, the SA Communist Party (SACP), has said.

The SACP was responding to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha’s decision not to grant Derby-Lewis (79) medical parole this week.

The party said Derby-Lewis was a “beneficiary” of the Constitutional laws that he had fought against by assassinating Hani in 1993.

Capital punishment was abolished after democracy in 1994, and Derby-Lewis’ death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1996.

SACP spokesperson Mhlekwa Nxumalo said the party, and Hani’s family, would continue to oppose Derby-Lewis’ future parole applications as long as he remained silent about the events leading up to Hani’s assassination and about the other people who were involved his murder. Hani was the leader of the SACP when he died.

Nxumalo said releasing Derby-Lewis before he had come clean about the killing could have caused racial divisions and violence.

“His release, therefore, poses a huge potential of sparking racial violence and hatred among the people of South Africa. Once more, true reconciliation and forgiveness depends first and foremost at least on full disclosure of the truth as well as remorse, something which is not accepted by Clive Derby-Lewis and his supporters,” said Nxumalo.

As the main reasons he was been denied parole, Masutha cited Derby-Lewis’ lack of remorse, the fact that his lung cancer was “getting better” according to his doctor, as well as a possible fraudulent medical report with someone’s else’s name on it that was used in the parole application.

Derby-Lewis’ wife, Gaye, told the Saturday Star that her husband was not surprised at the decision because government had turned down his four previous requests for parole.

Gaye suggested that it was the department’s idea that her husband use a false name for security reasons when he visited a pathologist, but the department said this was inconsistent with Derby-Lewis’ own explanation – that he took it upon himself to use a pseudonym.

The department also discovered, according to Masutha, that a patient of the same name had visited the same pathologist on the same day as Derby-Lewis, suggesting he had provided fraudulent medical records to get medical parole.

Justice and correctional services spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said the department had not yet decided whether to investigate and charge Derby-Lewis for the alleged dishonesty, despite calls to do so.

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