Clive Derby-Lewis, the man who killed Chris Hani, remains too ill to be transferred back to prison from hospital after an operation to treat gangrene. Photo: Independent Newspapers

Clive Derby-Lewis, the man who killed Chris Hani, remains too ill to be transferred back to prison from hospital after an operation to treat gangrene, his lawyer said on Sunday.

Marius Coertze said Derby-Lewis, 74, was on a second course of antibiotics following an operation on Tuesday to remove dead tissue from his right leg. Doctors may yet have to amputate the limb to stop the infection from spreading.

“If the gangrene does not clear quickly, his lower right leg will have to be amputated to stop the infection spreading to the rest of his body.”

Coertze said Derby-Lewis's blood pressure had stabilised, but was likely to return to life threatening levels if he was transferred from the private hospital, where he is being treated, to prison.

He again accused prison authorities of deliberately neglecting Derby-Lewis's health problems and said prison guards were interfering with his medical treatment in hospital. They were keeping him chained to his bed, despite warnings from doctors that he could develop blood clots.

“Doctors are shocked that prison personnel are openly and shamelessly seeking to damage his health,” Coertze said.

Prison authorities had ignored the fact that Derby-Lewis was suffering from advanced skin cancer on his face, he added.

“Correctional Services was clearly aware of Clive's condition but neglected and concealed it in the hope that he would die of 'natural causes' in jail. It would then have been quite easy to cover up their clandestine and inhumane actions,” he charged.

Derby-Lewis is serving a life term for the murder of SA Communist Party general secretary Hani on April 10, 1993.

He has applied for parole and the application is thought to be before the National Council on Correctional Services, awaiting referral to Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for a decision.

Hani was shot in the head as he climbed out of his car outside his home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, by Polish immigrant Janusz Walus, using a pistol lent to him by Derby-Lewis, a Conservative Party MP.

Six months later, Walus and Derby-Lewis were convicted of murder and conspiracy to commit murder, and were sentenced to death.

However, this was commuted to life imprisonment in 1995, when capital punishment was abolished. - Sapa