Derby-Lewis 'has serious health problems'

A report on Clive Derby-Lewis’s medical condition will be submitted to the Parole Board to supplement his parole application, his lawyer said on Monday.

“What has now happened, after the [parole] hearing in June, is that he has serious health problems,” said Derby-Lewis’s lawyer, Marius Coertze.

“He is not going to be better, he will have permanent scars and health problems. On that basis and the fact that he is already 74 years old, we will supplement with the medical report to strengthen the application.

“It will become an extra leg of his parole application.”

Coertze is expecting a medical report on his client’s condition on Monday. This will be submitted to the correctional services department and the parole board.

Operations
Derby-Lewis is serving a 25-year sentence for his part in the murder of South African Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani.

He had to undergo two operations after he bumped his leg on an iron bed base in a hospital corridor, causing a severe infection in his leg.

While being examined, doctors also found Derby-Lewis, who has served 17 years of his term, needed treatment for skin cancer and for prostate gland problems.

A cancerous growth on his right temple was successfully removed last week.

After the June parole hearing, a final decision on whether Derby-Lewis gets parole will be taken by the National Council on Correctional Services at the end of October.

Hani was shot in the head as he climbed out of his car at his home in Dawn Bark, Boksburg, on April 10 1993, a year before South Africa’s first democratic elections.

The killer, Polish immigrant Janusz Walus, used a pistol Derby-Lewis, a Conservative Party MP at the time, had lent him.

‘Next time it may be too late’
Coertze said the treatment received by Derby-Lewis in jail “falls far short” and he had arrived in hospital last month with “little or no proper healthcare”.

However, he received treatment and was on the mend, but he warned that “next time it may be too late”.

“He could die in jail for lack of proper medical care.
He may become a martyr in jail,” he said. “His health has taken a huge knock and I don’t think he will be as strong as he was before.”

Derby-Lewis and Walus were convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to death. This was commuted to life imprisonment in 1995, when capital punishment was abolished.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission rejected their bid for amnesty on the grounds they could not prove the murder was politically motivated and that they had not made a full disclosure.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the Democratic Alliance and the SACP were among those opposing his bid for parole.

Walus is serving his 25-year term.—Sapa

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