Clive Derby-Lewis

Johannesburg - The correctional services department has not yet decided on the medical parole application for Clive Derby-Lewis, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

“No, there is no decision yet,” said Lawrence Ngobeni, spokesman for Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha.

He said there was no time frame for a decision.

The Citizen reported that the department was given until the end of the week to decide on Derby-Lewis's parole application, or his lawyers would take the matter to court.

Derby-Lewis was convicted of conspiracy to kill SA Communist Party general secretary Chris Hani, by providing the gun Polish immigrant Janusz Walus used to kill him in the driveway of his Boksburg home on April 10, 1993.

The 78-year-old former Conservative Party MP, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars, has already served more than 20 years of his sentence.

Derby-Lewis was initially sentenced to death, which was commuted to life imprisonment when the death penalty was abolished in 1995. He testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that his fight against Communism motivated the murder. The commission denied him amnesty in 1999, a decision upheld by the Cape High Court a year later.

He first applied for parole in June 2010.

Derby-Lewis's lawyer Marius Coertze said it had been a month since they made the application.

“If we have not heard from them by the end of the week we will assume that they are dragging their feet... we will bring a new application to the high court, like [Eugene] De Kock,” Coertze was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

Coertze said Derby-Lewis had six months to live due to an aggressive lung cancer.

Meanwhile, De Kock, a former apartheid-era police colonel, approached the high court last month to force Masutha to make a decision on his parole.

“The court has given us 30 working days, and the minister will respond within the specified period,” said Ngobeni.

De Kock was in charge of a police “death squad” at Vlakplaas outside Pretoria, and was arrested in mid-1994. He was convicted and sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria in 1996.

He was sentenced to two terms of life imprisonment for two 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.

De Kock, nicknamed “Prime Evil”, has spent two decades in prison.

Last month, Judge Thokozile Masipa granted an order giving Masutha 30 days to decide on De Kock's parole bid.

The National Council for Correctional Services made a recommendation about De Kock's parole in November last year.

The recommendation was sent to then minister S'bu Ndebele, but when he failed to act, De Kock approached the high court to force him to do so.