National Assembly correctional services committee chairman Dennis Bloem on Friday urged Minister Ngconde Balfour and the national council on corrections to oppose a new bid for parole by one of Chris Hani’s killers.

Bloem said he had been informed that Clive Derby-Lewis, who was convicted along with Janus Walus of killing the SA Communist Party leader, would launch an application for release on parole in the Pretoria High Court on October 28.

Derby-Lewis, 72, and the Polish-born Walus, 55, were sentenced to death for Hani’s assassination on April 10, 1993. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1995.

Bloem said he was very disturbed to hear the news, as Derby-Lewis’ parole should not be dealt with “in this fashion”.

Correctional services legislation had been amended a while ago to give the national council on corrections the authority to decide on whether a lifer should be placed on parole. Therefore the council should take a decision, not a court, Bloem said. In any event, it was his view that “life means life” imprisonment, no matter who the person was.

Balfour and the corrections council should thus oppose Derby-Lewis’ action, Bloem said.

Earlier this month, Derby-Lewis’ attorney Marius Coertze said his client would have been a free man on October 15 following the recommendation of the parole board. “On 19 August he appeared before the parole board in Pretoria on a recommendation they received from the case management committee,” he said.

“They recommended that Mr Derby-Lewis must be released on parole on 15 October 2008.”

Because Derby-Lewis was 72 and had served 15 years of his sentence, he had become eligible for parole in terms of the Minimum Sentences and the Correctional Services Acts, Coertze said. However, the parole board has now given the Hani family time to raise objections.