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17 Mar 2009 10:08
The parole application of Chris Hani’s murderer, Clive Derby-Lewis, was dismissed in the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday.
Handing down judgement, Deputy Judge President Jerry Shongwe said it was the unanimous decision of a full bench that Derby-Lewis’s application be dismissed with costs.
The family of the slain South African Communist Party leader on Tuesday welcomed the high court ruling.
“It has strengthened our resolve and provides some reassurance,” read a statement from the Hani family’s spokesperson, Chris Vick.
“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 said it appreciated the support it had received from “many, many people and organisations” who had been opposed to Derby-Lewis’s early release.
The African National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday said it respected and welcomed 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 our liberation struggle, and threatened to derail the process towards a political settlement in this country,” the ANC said in a statement.
“Our thoughts have been with the Hani family during the court application.”
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.
Derby-Lewis’s lawyers had argued that he qualified for parole because he was older than 65 and had been rehabilitated.
The Hani family had opposed the parole application.
Arguing on behalf of the Hani family, George Bizos last week said the Pretoria High Court was not aware of what effects Derby-Lewis’s release would have on society, and had not been provided any information on the nature of his parole application.
He maintained that it was Hani’s widow’s common-law right to make representation and since this had not been done, the matter should be dismissed with costs.
Derby-Lewis and his accomplice, Janusz Walus, were sentenced to death for the murder of the South African Communist Party leader in 1993.
Walus remains in Pretoria’s C-Max prison and does not, as yet, qualify for a parole application.—Sapa
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