Johannesburg - Limpho Hani – the widow of slain SACP stalwart Chris Hani – has launched a scathing attack on Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha for saying he was considering releasing on parole Clive Derby-Lewis, one of his two killers.
Limpho said Masutha had wilfully breached the law by not notifying her before making the recommendation that Derby-Lewis be released on medical parole.
“While I appreciate the fact that the new minister of justice wants to hit the ground running, I would like him to be aware that there are laws in this country. The parole application of Mr Derby-Lewis is not a new thing. It didn’t come to his desk two weeks ago,” Limpho said on Wednesday on Talk Radio 702.
Masutha confirmed on Monday that parole authorities have recommended that both Derby-Lewis and gunman Janusz Walus be released on medical parole.
Repeated attempts to get comment from Masutha were unsuccessful on Wednesday. His spokesman Lawrence Ngobeni asked The Star to send an e-mail enquiry, but he had not responded by publication time.
Limpho said she was surprised when she learnt from media reports that a recommendation had been made for Derby-Lewis and Walus’s release on medical parole. She said the only time when the government had failed to inform her was when Ngconde Balfour was the correctional services minister.
“But all the ministers who have served in that department have always followed the law… Last year September Mr Derby-Lewis applied for parole. It was a normal parole, it was never a medical parole…The minister of justice and correctional services has failed me as a victim. All I am saying is then I would appreciate it if the minister followed the law, because the constitution says the law applies to all South Africans. I have not seen a part where it says the law exempts the new minister.”
An audibly angry Limpho added: “It’s a new thing that the minister has not communicated to us until I found out on TV. According to law, the minister is not supposed to go to the media and tell South Africans, including myself as Chris’s wife, that Mr Derby-Lewis has now applied for medical parole. This is a new application and, according to the parole regulations, I am supposed to be contacted.”
Limpho was asked if she would agree to the possible release of Derby-Lewis because of his poor health.
“The thing is at the moment I don’t know what to think of medical parole. We were told over a period that Mr Derby-Lewis is sick, he can’t walk, his leg is amputated. Last year September when we attended the medical parole hearing, he looked fine.
“I think we have to be fair to everybody. The minister should send that application (to me), then I have the right to look at that application. I am not an animal. I am a human being.
“My husband never came back, my children grew up without a father. But I am just concerned that the minister is not following the law.”
Derby-Lewis has previously applied for medical parole but was turned down.
Hani was shot on April 10, 1993 outside his Boksburg house by Walus, a polish far-right immigrant. Derby-Lewis was jailed for supplying him with the murder weapon.