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Derby-Lewis's lawyers give justice department ultimatum

Sapa

Lawyers for Clive Derby-Lewis say they will take the justice department to the high court if it hasn't decided on his parole application by this week.

Clive Derby-Lewis. (Gallo)

The justice and correctional services department has until the end of this week to decide on Clive Derby-Lewis’s medical parole application or his lawyers will take the matter to the high court, the Citizen reported on Wednesday.

Derby-Lewis’s lawyer Marius Coertze said it had been a month since they applied for the parole. “If we have not heard from them by the end of the week we will assume that they are dragging their feet ... we will bring a new application to the high court, like De Kock.” 

Eugene de Kock approached the high court in May for an order to force new Justice Minister Michael Masutha to make a decision, within 30 days after previous minister Sbu Ndebele had not. Coertze said his client had six months to live due to an aggressive lung cancer. 

Derby-Lewis was convicted of killing South African Communist Party secretary general Chris Hani in the driveway of his Boksburg home on April 10 1993, with his accomplice Janusz Walus. The 78-year-old former Conservative Party MP, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars, has already served more than 20 years of his sentence. 

Derby-Lewis parole
Meanwhile, it has been recommended that Derby-Lewis be granted parole, Masutha said last week.

“There has been a positive recommendation, in other words recommending the release on parole,” he told reporters in Pretoria. “We are looking at those matters also in the light of the submissions from the South African Communist Party ... which submitted a memorandum.”

Derby-Lewis provided the gun Polish immigrant Janusz Walus used to shoot and kill Hani.

Derby-Lewis, who was stabbed twice, has been denied medical parole. He has been stabbed on two different occasions by inmates at the Kgosi Mampuru Central Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

Masutha at the time said submissions by the affected families would be taken into consideration before a decision to release Derby-Lewis on parole was made. “We will certainly make sure that when we eventually come to look at how best to process those issues, consideration is given at least to those submissions ... and any other relevant advice that can assist us in finalising those matters.” 

He said the emotional nature and political sensitivity of the matter would be considered. – Sapa

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