Balfour 'happy' Derby-Lewis parole bid rejected

The minister of correctional services has welcomed Tuesday’s high court ruling dismissing convicted murderer Clive Derby-Lewis’s application for parole.

“We are happy that [Derby-Lewis’s] efforts to short circuit and avoid due processes of ensuring that his parole application receives appropriate attention have been rejected by the court,” said Ngconde Balfour in a statement.

Derby-Lewis was convicted for his part in the murder of South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani in 1993.

Balfour said the ruling meant that prisoners could only receive parole through the Department of Correctional Services.

In November of last year Balfour stated emphatically that Derby-Lewis would not receive parole.

“I will tell you will not go out [of prison]. Clive Derby-Lewis ... you can go to hell.
You’re not going to go out until you do your time, it’s as simple as that,” said Balfour.

Balfour joined the African National Congress (ANC) and Hani’s family in welcoming the high court ruling.

“The African National Congress has noted the decision of the Pretoria High Court [North Gauteng High Court] to dismiss the parole application of Clive Derby-Lewis, one of the killers of ANC and SACP stalwart Chris Hani,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.

“The ANC respects and welcomes the decision of the court.

“The callous murder of Isithwalandwe Chris Hani in 1993 struck a grave blow to those South Africans who regarded him as a hero of the liberation struggle, and threatened to derail the process towards a political settlement in this country,” Duarte said.

The Hani family said in a statement through spokesperson Chris Vick that the ruling had “strengthened our resolve and provides some reassurance”.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that this man serves his full sentence, and that justice runs its full course.”

The family also appreciated the support it had received from “many, many people and organisations” who had been opposed to Derby-Lewis’s early release.

Asked to comment, Derby-Lewis’s wife, Gaye, said: “I have absolutely nothing to say. Let the country decide,” before hanging up the phone.

The North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday dismissed Derby-Lewis’s parole application with costs. Handing down judgement, Deputy Judge President Jerry Shongwe said it was the unanimous decision of a full bench.

Derby-Lewis, 73, has served 15 years of a life sentence, after his death sentence was reduced to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished.—Sapa

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