Derby-Lewis turns down Volksraad leadership nomination

22 August 2011 - 16:31 By Sapa
Clive Derby-Lewis , jailed for life for his part in the murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani. File photo
Clive Derby-Lewis , jailed for life for his part in the murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani. File photo
Image: Elizabeth Sejake. © Sunday Times.

Convicted killer Clive Derby-Lewis, who is serving a life sentence for the assassination of SACP general secretary Chris Hani, has turned down a nomination to lead the Volksraad Verkiesing Kommissie (VVK), his lawyer said.

"He says he is tired of all the fighting. He wants his freedom and peace at this age and to enjoy the luxury of retirement and rest," Advocate Marius Coertze said.

"...He would in any case not be able to participate in active politics anymore because of his age and health." Derby-Lewis, 75, was named as a candidate on VVK's website last month. The VKK (People's Council Election Commission) would elect a seven-member volksraad (people's council) on September 23 and September 24.

Coertze said the nomination came as a surprise, because Derby-Lewis was not approached by anybody to propose him as a candidate. The former Conservative Party MP was sentenced to death for his role in the 1993 assassination of Hani, who was the leader of the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe.

The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when South Africa abolished the death penalty after the 1994 elections.

He has so far served 18-and-a-half-years imprisonment, with his health deteriorating in the past two years.

"During his hospitalisation in 2010, he has had six operations for skin cancer, gangrene of his left leg and two skin grafts. He was treated for prostate cancer from February to April 2011.

"Although all indications are that his cancer is presently under control, this treatment left scars on his well-being, mostly because of his high age."

VKK chairman Paul Kruger said last month, that labelling the VKK a far right-wing organisation was incorrect. He said Afrikaners had the right to self-determination.

It hoped that, in holding elections, it would obtain a mandate to negotiate with the government on the future of Afrikaners and secure land for Afrikaners who did not want to live in the "Potpourri South Africa".

Also among the 19 candidates nominated, was farmer Abel Malan who is accused of assaulting a Stellenbosch University academic.

Malan, 48, who allegedly assaulted Stellenbosch Professor Anton van Niekerk, apparently in anger at an article he wrote about whites being in a lot of debt.

So far, 30,000 people had registered for the election, said Kruger.