Pretoria - Chris Hani’s killer Clive Derby-Lewis is in a more serious condition than the Department of Correctional Services would have the public believe.
This is according to his lawyer Marius Coertzee who said Derby-Lewis had to be resuscitated after he stopped breathing because of internal bleeding from a pierced lung.
Derby-Lewis was attacked for the second time at the Kgosi Mampuru prison on Sunday evening by an inmate who stabbed him in the back with a sharpened glass object.
Earlier this month, a different inmate stabbed him with a sharpened spoon, resulting in Derby-Lewis suffering several broken bones in his arm and several stab wounds to his face and body.
After a heated court battle between Coertzee and legal representatives for Correctional Services, a court order was granted, forcing the department to take Derby-Lewis to a private hospital. He was admitted to Eugene Marais hospital on Monday and has undergone tests and treatments.
“Doctors treated his arm with urgency because the previous hospital did not align the broken bones properly after the first attack. Those bones would never have grown closed and it could have resulted in gangrene. Doctors then focused on the skin cancer growth on his chest and were yet to get to other tests and treatment,” Coertzee said.
“The prison clinic put three stitches to the wound on his back from the glass attack, but never checked further. As a result they never picked up that his lung had been pierced and he was bleeding internally. He started suffocating on his own blood. Doctors had to assist.”
Coertzee said Derby-Lewis was due to undergo surgery this week. “We are not sure what the situation will be like when he returns to prison but we’re awaiting the parole application early next month,” he said.
Coertzee slammed Correctional Services for telling the media Derby-Lewis’s stab wound was a minor injury.
Spokesman Manelisi Wolela was quoted at the time as saying: “The injury on his back caused by a glass is described as minor. He was treated at the clinic”.
On Wednesday, Correctional Services ministerial spokesman Logan Maistry said the department had not been made aware of Derby-Lewis’s medical condition since his admission on Monday.
He had not been admitted to hospital because of the stabbing, but for another condition for which he needed medication, and he was expected to remain in hospital for two weeks, he said.
“His admission had nothing to do with the attack,” Maistry said.
Correctional Services Minister S’bu Ndebele had condemned the attack on Derby-Lewis in the strongest possible terms, he said.