Clive Derby-Lewis to know fate by end of week

MAY 26, 2015

Clive Derby-Lewis should know by Friday whether he will be allowed to go home on medical parole so as to manage his lung cancer.

Judge Selby Baqwa adjourned one and a half days of dense legal argument over whether the prisoner had Stage 3b or Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer, and whether he had shown remorse for his part in the murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

He was denied parole on January 30 this year by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha for various reasons, and his lawyers applied to the court for a review of Masutha's decision.

Derby-Lewis escaped the death penalty when the Constitutional Court outlawed this form of punishment. He has served over 21 years in prison.

Last year, while being treated for a stabbing, lung cancer was picked up by doctors.

Masutha turned down his parole on the grounds that his cancer was Stage 3 and not Stage 4. The prisons laws and regulations state that cancer must be at Stage 4 for medical parole to be considered.

No remorse

Masutha believed there was no proof of remorse on Derby-Lewis's part.

His lawyer, Roelof du Plessis, insisted that two out of three doctors had found signs of Stage 4 inoperable cancer and could not understand why the third on the panel of three specialists, a Dr Mike Sathekge, had not found the same.

In an effort to show that Derby-Lewis had shown remorse, Du Plessis said there had been an invitation to Hani's widow, Limpho, to visit him in hospital for a face-to-face apology.

Du Plessis said Mrs Hani's lawyers had also not responded to an approach in April for possible dialogue between Mrs Hani and Derby-Lewis.

''The question is, My Lord, why is the minister fighting this so hard?'' said Du Plessis.

Baqwa said he realised the urgency of the matter, and would move ''with haste''.

One of the submissions made was that Baqwa call the medical experts for oral evidence, but a diagnosis last December that he had six months to live made the matter even more sensitive.

''In those circumstances I have considered that the best we can do is to hand down a decision in this matter on Friday this week,'' said Baqwa.