Derby-Lewis just shook his head - wife

2015-01-30 19:02
Clive Derby-Lewis (File: Craig Nieuwenhuizen)

Clive Derby-Lewis (File: Craig Nieuwenhuizen)

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Johannesburg - Clive Derby-Lewis shook his head as he listened to Justice Minister Michael Masutha announce that his application for medical parole had been refused, his wife Gaye said on Friday.

"In his judgment, the minister 'bemoans Clive's conduct' with regard to the other name used," she said in a statement.

"But it was DCS [department of correctional services], the minister's own department, that insisted Clive use a nom de plume because of security reasons and the proximity of the press near the hospital."

She said there was no law which said the granting of medical parole depended on remorse.

Derby-Lewis, 79, is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the assassination of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani in April 1993, and has repeatedly been denied parole.

Masutha said the medical parole board recommended that he be released. However, he decided not to grant him medical parole because he only had stage three B cancer, not the more serious stage four as stipulated in legislation, had not shown remorse, and because there were questions about his medical records.

Masutha said the name on the pathologists' report was not Derby-Lewis's.

Gaye Derby-Lewis said the department was worried the media would get into her husband's ward at the hospital, and claimed he was "chained... to his bed".

"The minister clearly doesn't know what happened in this regard. He should have checked with his own department for the reasons for the different names."

Inoperable cancer

Gaye Derby-Lewis said her husband's physician stated that a scan of his lung showed his cancer had spread, and the oncologist had said the cancer was inoperable.

"The minister declared that Clive could not be released until these two conditions were present, but they are already present.

"We will be taking the minister's decision on urgent legal review," she said.

There was mixed reaction on Friday to Masutha's decision.

The SACP and its youth wing, the Young Communist League of SA, welcomed the decision.

"We have listened to the statement of the minister, and we are convinced that Clive Derby-Lewis and his legal team continue to be dishonest to the people of South Africa, and as such cannot be trusted on what they have been alleging that he is a changed man, or that he is on his 'deathbed'," acting national spokesperson Mhlekwa Nxumalo said in a statement.

"He should remain in prison as he remains a danger to the reconciliation projects that our country so desperately yearns for."

The party said true reconciliation and forgiveness depended on at least full disclosure of the truth and remorse.

"[This is] something which is not accepted by Mr Clive Derby-Lewis and his supporters."

The DA said Masutha was not a doctor and not in a position to comment on whether Derby-Lewis was incapacitated or not.

"Given this system, the minister cannot cherry-pick recommendations or parts of them he likes or does not like," DA MP James Selfe said in a statement.

"A process was set in place, the minister must respect it."

De Kock’s parole

The opposition party said the decision to release former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock, 66, was correct.

De Kock, one of the apartheid regime's most notorious killers, has spent over two decades behind bars, following his arrest in 1994 and his conviction two years later by the High Court in Pretoria.

The IFP said Masutha erred in his decision regarding Derby-Lewis.

"Whilst the IFP in no manner condones the past actions of Mr Derby-Lewis, we are of the opinion that Mr Derby-Lewis, who is terminally ill, should have been medically paroled and allowed to return to his home to die with dignity," IFP MP Albert Mncwango said in a statement.

"It would appear that there are double standards at play, specifically when contrasting the stringent application of criteria for medical parole in this instance, versus those applied in the case of Mr Schabir Shaik for example."

The SA Democratic Teachers Union welcomed Masutha's decision.

"We believe that the minister made the right decision in not allowing the murderer of the late comrade Chris Hani to receive a get out of jail free card," the union said.

"We are in full agreement with the minister's view that Derby-Lewis did not show any remorse at all for his actions."

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu welcomed De Kock's release.

"I pray that those whom he hurt, those from whom he took loved ones, will find the power within them to forgive him," he said in a statement.

Tutu said reports that Derby-Lewis had not shown remorse were disappointing. However he felt he should have been released on medical parole.

"We must guard against creating the impression that there is one set of rules applicable to some people, and another set of rules applicable to others," Tutu said.

Regarding Derby-Lewis, FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder questioned why Masutha vetoed the recommendations of the medical experts on the parole board, after having consistently made it clear he could only make recommendations on the basis of the documents and facts handed to him, and while acknowledging he was not a medical doctor.

Mulder welcomed De Kock's release.

Read more on:    michael masutha  |  clive derby-lewis  |  pretoria  |  prisons

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