Clive Derby-Lewis in yet another bid for release on medical parole

BY TAI CHISHAKWE - DECEMBER 2, 2014

Clive Derby-Lewis on Tuesday launched an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court in yet another bid to secure his release on medical parole. The 78-year old is suffering from lung cancer; his two previous medical parole applications failed - in 2011 and again in 2013.

Derby-Lewis has been in hospital since March of this year.

He is the world's oldest political prisoner, according to National Front spokesman, Francois Cloete.

Derby-Lewis is serving a life sentence for his role in the murder of then South African Communist Party (SACP) Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the African National Congress’ (ANC) Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), Chris Hani.

Hani was shot dead in the driveway of his Boksburg home on April 10 1993 by Janusz Walus, a Polish immigrant, on the eve of the first democratic elections. 

Investigations revealed Derby-Lewis was behind the assassination and organised the weapon for Walus. The police also found a hit-list which suggested that Hani was only third on Walus and Derby-Lewis’ list - following Nelson Mandela and Joe Slovo.

Basis for release

On Tuesday, Derby-Lewis’ lawyers were expected to argue that parole should be granted because incompetence on the part of the Department of Correctional Services had led to the deterioration of Derby-Lewis’ already declining health. 

No amnesty

Derby-Lewis and Walus applied but were refused amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) on April 7 1999. 

The TRC’s amnesty committee said the two had failed to make a full disclosure of the political motives for the murder as they were not acting under instruction from the Conservative Party as they claimed.

Walus and Derby-Lewis were sentenced to death however, following the abolition of the death penalty; their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment.

Photo caption: Clive Derby-Lewis on Tuesday launched an urgent application in the Pretoria High Court in yet another bid to secure his release on medical parole. The 78-year old is suffering from lung cancer; his two previous medical parole applications failed - in 2011 and again in 2013.