Justice Dept cancels Clive Derby-Lewis briefing

The minister had until today to announce his dept's decision on parole for Clive Derby-Lewis.

FILE: Clive Derby-Lewis. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The briefing scheduled by Justice Minister Michael Masutha where he was expected to make an important announcement related to Clive Derby-Lewis has been cancelled for no apparent reason.

The High Court in Pretoria ordered that the minister had until today to announce the conditions for his release from prison on medical parole.

Masutha was expected to release those details or reveal whether he intended challenging the court's ruling.

A cancellation notice simply states that Masutha's media briefing would not go ahead due to unforeseen circumstances.

The minister's office has not yet provided a reason for the sudden change of plan.

Judge Selby Baqwa ruled a week ago that Masutha's decision to deny Derby-Lewis parole for the fifth time was flawed.

Derby-Lewis's attorney says he has also not heard anything from the ministry in relation to his client.

WHY DERBY-LEWIS WAS NOT GRANTED PAROLE

- Last July, the Medical Parole Advisory Board decided that Derby-Lewis should continue chemotherapy as it couldn't determine whether his lung cancer was spreading. The Board also approached independent experts to get advice on his condition.

  • In December, the board recommends that Derby-Lewis be granted parole, and advises the minister to do so because it finds he has stage three lung cancer. The minister disagrees with this finding as the law states an inmate with malignant stage four cancer "with metastasis being inoperable or with both radiotherapy and chemotherapy failure" qualifies for placement on medical parole.

  • Masutha considered the following in making his decision: applicable legislation, recommendations made by the Board as well as the submission made by Chris Hani's wife Limpho and the South African Communist Party (SACP).

Limpho said she was disappointed that she wasn't informed about the development and learnt about it through the media.

"The minister of justice has failed me as a victim," she said.

  • Masutha said: "There is nothing to suggest that Mr Derby-Lewis' condition is such that he is rendered physically incapacitated as a result of injury, disease or illness so as to severely limit daily activity or self-care as provided for in the Act."

  • Questions are raised about the authenticity of the samples Derby-Lewis submitted to the Board after it emerges the name on the pathologist's report was not the Derby-Lewis's.

  • The minister said Derby-Lewis's explanation of the confusion over his identity could not be verified.

  • Questions still remain about whether Derby-Lewis has shown remorse.