'Derby-Lewis appeal still a possibility'

Justice Minister Michael Masutha says the window to appeal remains open.

FILE: Clive Derby-Lewis during amnesty hearing at Pretoria City Hall. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Michael Masutha has clarified that his compliance with the court order to issue Clive Derby-Lewis's medical parole conditions has not ruled out the possibility of an appeal.

The minister set conditions for his release yesterday, a week after the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted the 79-year-old terminally ill cancer patient parole.

Derby-Lewis was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani in 1993.

Masutha says while he complied with the court order issued a week ago, the window to appeal remains open.

"Any other course of action that is available at our disposal and this equally applied to the SACP and Hani family. It really is a matter where there is still time to ponder."

The minister declined to say whether he in fact intended taking this route.

Hani's widow Limpho and the SACP have been informed of this latest development.

At the same time, the Justice Department has confirmed that Derby-Lewis remains in hospital where he is being treated for lung cancer.

Eyewitness News understands Derby-Lewis underwent a surgical procedure just hours before Masutha issued the conditions for his release on medical parole.