It has been recommended that Clive Derby-Lewis be granted parole, Justice Minister Mike Masutha said on Monday.
“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 [SACP] … who submitted a memorandum.”
Derby-Lewis provided the gun Polish immigrant Janusz Walus used to shoot and kill SA Communist Party secretary general Chris Hani in the driveway of his Boksburg, East Rand, home on April 10 1993.
Derby-Lewis, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars, has already served more than 20 years of his sentence. The 78-year-old former Conservative Party MP has twice been denied medical parole.
He has been stabbed on two different occasions by inmates at the Kgosi Mampuru Central Correctional Centre in Pretoria.
Masutha on Monday 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.
The same would apply to the consideration for parole of former police death squad commander Eugene de Kock. “We are considering the matter and we believe that we must do proper consultation and not make a rush decision on this matter,” Masutha said.
Last month, the high court in Pretoria ordered Masutha to consider parole for de Kock.
Judge Thokozile Masipa granted an order giving Masutha 30 days to make a decision on whether the man nicknamed “Prime Evil” should be released on parole after two decades in prison.
The National Council for Correctional Services apparently made a recommendation about De Kock’s parole in November last year. The recommendation was sent to the then minister of correctional services S’bu Ndebele, but when he failed to make a decision De Kock approached the high court early this year for an order to force him to do so.
The case was settled when Ndebele’s legal advisers undertook that the minister would make a decision by May 12.
No decision had been made by the deadline and when Ndebele lost his Cabinet post after the May 7 general elections this year, De Kock again approached the court for a ruling.
The former apartheid-era police colonel, who was in charge of a police death squad at Vlakplaas outside Pretoria, was arrested in mid-1994, but was only convicted and sentenced in the high court in Pretoria in 1996.
He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for two particularly gruesome murders and to a further 212 years imprisonment on a range of other charges, including conspiracy to commit murder, culpable homicide, kidnapping, assault and fraud.
Many of his former colleagues who committed murder under his command testified in return for indemnity from prosecution.
He testified in detail before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission about the inner workings of the apartheid-era police force but was refused amnesty on some of the murders that were not deemed to be politically motivated. – Sapa