Today, the parole board in Pretoria will hear an application by Clive Derby-Lewis, who together with Janusz Walus was convicted for the 1993 killing of prominent anti-apartheid activist and Communist Party leader Chris Hani. Derby-Lewis was not granted amnesty by the TRC. (Read the transcripts of the TRC amnesty hearings here)
As recently as August of last year, Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was quoted as saying that Derby-Lewis had not completed his full prison sentence, nor had he shown any remorse for the Hani killing. “I will not let people abuse the process of parole,” the Minister stated, in maintaining that the “parole of apartheid-era hitman Butana Almond Nofemela does not set a precedent for the release of Clive Derby-Lewis.” A previous parole application made by Derby-Lewis was dismissed by the High Court in March of 2009. (Full article here)
In a Business Day report this morning, Franny Rabkin writes that Hani’s killing “almost derailed SA’s negotiations for democracy” and “to this day, angers many South Africans.” The SACP has released a statement indicating that the party will oppose the parole application, together with Hani’s widow.
According to Rabkin’s article, last year High Court Judge Willem van der Merwe stated that “Derby-Lewis was, in law, eligible to be considered for parole — because he was over the age of 65 and had already served 15 years of his sentence.” However, he also stated that the “decision to grant parole was ultimately in the hands of the correctional services minister and not the court.” He also “ruled that Ms Hani had a right to make representations to the parole board before it could recommend parole.”