Yes, no, maybe for apartheid-era killers

2015-01-30 16:38
Clive Derby-Lewis (Beeld)

Clive Derby-Lewis (Beeld)

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Pretoria - The bid for parole by three apartheid-era killers got a nod, a no and a maybe from Justice Minister Michael Masutha on Friday.

Clive Derby-Lewis, who was jailed for life for his role in killing SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani, was once again denied medical parole, Masutha told reporters in Pretoria.

Former Vlakplaas commander Eugene de Kock would be released on parole.

A decision was not made on Ferdi Barnard, a former apartheid-era Civil Co-Operation Bureau agent found guilty 17 years ago of murdering anti-apartheid activist David Webster.

Although the medical parole board had recommended that Derby-Lewis be released, Masutha was suspicious about his medical reports. He also criticised the parole board for recommending his release on parole, when his cancer was not of the type that, according to legislation, qualified him for release.

Derby-Lewis was arrested for providing the gun used by Janusz Walus, a Polish immigrant, to kill Hani in the driveway of his Boksburg home on 10 April, 1993.

Conspiracy to murder

Derby-Lewis was found guilty of conspiracy to murder and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to a life sentence after South Africa abolished capital punishment.

"There is nothing to suggest that Mr Derby-Lewis's condition is such that he is rendered physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness so as to severely limit daily activity or self-care," Masutha said.

He said he took into account legislation, the parole board's recommendations, and submissions made by Hani's widow Limpho and the SACP.

Masutha said the parole board indicated Derby-Lewis suffered from stage three B lung cancer.

"This finding and recommendation appears to be oblivious of the fact that in the act, read with relevant regulations, it is an inmate with malignant cancer stage four with metastasis, being inoperable or with both radiotherapy and chemotherapy failure, that qualifies.

"The rationale of the board's conclusion in this regard is, on the face of it, difficult for me to comprehend," said Masutha.

In addition the name on the name on the pathologists' report was not Derby-Lewis's.

"In an affidavit he submitted to the board he states that he used a different name for security reasons," Masutha said.

"It also appears from his affidavit that, coincidentally another patient, bearing the name used by the offender, was admitted at the same hospital for treatment for a similar medical condition."

No indication of remorse

Derby-Lewis then reverted to a pseudonym he used when he was first admitted to hospital.

"It must be stated that there are no supporting documents attached from the department in support of these name changes," Masutha said.

"This raises uncertainty on the identity of the patient whose samples informed the recommendations of the board."

Masutha said there was also no indication that Derby-Lewis had shown remorse.

"In the circumstances, the board's recommendation to place the offender on medical parole is not approved."

De Kock would however be released on parole given the progress he had made.

"I have now reconsidered the matter and noted the various positive reports compiled by the relevant professionals and bodies. I have noted the progress he is reported to have made to improve his skills while in custody," said Masutha.

He said De Kock was helping the National Prosecuting Authority's missing persons task team.

"I am also satisfied that comprehensive consultation with affected families has been done. My decision is therefore informed by all these important factors."

More time needed for Barnard application

Masutha said De Kock had asked that the actual date and conditions of his release not be made public.

Of Barnard, Masutha said: "The NCCS (National Council of Correctional Services) has written to me to indicate they need more time to consider the application and has been unable to submit recommendations to me.”

Webster, an anthropologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, was gunned down outside his home in Troyeville, Johannesburg, in 1989. Barnard was convicted of the killing almost a decade later.

He was also found guilty of the attempted murder of another activist, Dullah Omar, who went on to serve in both former presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki's cabinets.

Barnard was sentenced to two life terms plus a further 63 years in jail, and is currently in Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru II Prison.

Read more on:    chris hani  |  eugene de kock  |  michael masutha  |  clive derby-lewis  |  prisons

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