|Prophetic words by South African Communist Party leader, Chris Hani just a year before Polish immigrant Janusz Walus shot and killed him in his driveway in April 1993. It was the third major assassination attempt on Hani’s life. He was the right wing’s enemy number one and was generally distrusted by white South Africans. Like so often happens, after his death he was widely recognized as a soldier who had become a man of peace, a man of reconciliation. One wonders what role Chris Hani would have played or what position he would have been in now had he lived. This past week Hani’s assassin Janusz Walus and the man who helped him plan the murder Clive Derby-Lewis appeared before the Truth Commission’s Amnesty Committee in Pretoria to ask for amnesty.
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|Dawn Park, Easter Saturday, 1993; Chris Hani, the man who many thought would someday become president of South Africa lies dead in the drive way of his home. The country is plunged into mourning, anger and fear. There are whispers of a race war and a tremor runs through the tenuous negotiation process.
|‘Address to the nation by ANC President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela on the assassination of Martin Thembisile (Chris) Hani, 10 April 1993.’ // We are a nation in mourning. Our pain and anger is real, yet we must not permit ourselves to be provoked by those who seek to deny us the very freedom Chris Hani gave his life for. Let us respond with dignity in a disciplined fashion.
|But across the country the youth, particularly the black youth, rampaged through cities giving vent to their anger. // Nine days after Chris Hani’s slain a mass funeral is held in a Johannesburg stadium. Thousands come to pay their last respects. Millions more watch the funeral live on television. As Hani is laid to rest, the brilliant future of this MK soldier, fiery communist and people’s hero also comes to an end. The killers have a nation’s brittle anger on their conscience.
|Good evening. Polish immigrant Janusz Walus and CP member Clive Derby-Lewis have been found guilty of murdering SACP chief Chris Hani in April. Co-accused Mrs. Gay Derby-Lewis was acquitted on all charges. The Rand Supreme Court found that the case against assassin Walus was overwhelming and that evidence clearly showed direct intent.
|Pretoria City Hall four and a half years later. The men sentenced to death for the murder and now serving life sentences come to ask for amnesty. They are ferried from prison under heavy security. At the hearing the anger at Hani’s killing is still evident in the chanting and toyi-toying and many blunt messages on posters. The two sides in this South African tragedy have come together in this wall for the final chapter of this horror story.
|Clive Derby-Lewis calls himself an English speaking Afrikaner. He says he bought the gun for the killing and gave the address. Today he is simply a murderer imprisoned for his crime, but once he moved in high political circles holding court in public and in the media. // Stop interrupting now Mr. Fourie, give me the chance now. I listened to you. Because the white people of South Africa have been deprived of the right to exercise their opposition to what the National Party government is doing at the moment.
|Janusz Walus is a Polish immigrant. From Europe he brought his family and a passionate hate for communism. Little is known about this man who volunteered to shoot Chris Hani at point blank range. He shows no emotion; his eyes stare without expression. Gay Derby-Lewis, wife of Clive, a former nun from Australia now turned South African right wing fanatic; this is the woman who helped draw up a list of so-called enemies of South Africa. Chris Hani’s name was on that list. Her role in the assassination remains unclear and murky.
|Limpho Hani, the widow of assassinated Communist Party leader and MK soldier, a politician in her own right. She sits in the front row of the hearing, facing the killers every day.
|But it was Clive Derby-Lewis who took centre stage this week. For five days he played the politician, reminiscing about his rise in the old South Africa and his fall in the new. Derby-Lewis wants the Committee to believe that the Conservative Party approved of his plot to kill. He maintains that Afrikaners had been called up to the so-called third liberation war.
|With his speech on the second of February 1990, when he announced the unbanning of not only the ANC but also the SA Communist Party, it became obvious to many people, myself included that Mr. FW de Klerk and his colleagues were preparing to betray us all. On the 26th of May 1990 the late Dr Andries Treurnicht had made his and the CP’s feelings and intentions clear when he, addressing the largest political rally ever held at the Voortrekker Monument, (I believe that in the region of a 150 000 people were there Mr. Chairman and it was really a large rally, I was there myself) called the people up to the third freedom struggle. As the two previous freedom struggles were wars this was clearly a call to arms for Afrikaners.
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|‘Ek sê daardie magte, daardie persone, daardie organisasies help die tyd ryp maak wanneer nie net die Afrikaner volk nie, maar ook ander volke, die banier vir die Christelike volksvryheid sal vasgryp en sal uitroep ‘hier staan ons, God help ons, ons kan nie anders nie’ [Those forces, persons and organisations help prepare the time for when, not only the Afrikaner nation, but also other nations will grasp the banner of the Christian people’s freedom and will proclaim ‘Here we stand, God help us. There is no other way.’]
|As the De Klerk treachery became more and more obvious – or should I maybe say the De Klerk regime, the National Party regime treachery became more and more obvious – and as it was just as obvious to us that the armed struggle was the only option now open to us, we discussed how best we could strike a crippling blow against the communist leadership as the real enemy. It was obvious to us that the late Chris Hani as the leader of the Communist Party was the real threat to our future and that of the Republic of South Africa.
|The proceedings were continually held up by requests for adjournments by the applicant’s lawyers. At the heart of the wrangling were certain documents that the Hani family lawyers had produced. These included the police interrogation records of Gay and Clive Derby-Lewis and Janusz Walus. The applicant said these documents should not be allowed because their admissions about the murder have been made under duress and included many lies.
|If Mr. Bizos is going to use statements made under duress, which half of them are rubbish and when people were drunk, and he is going to say yes, but you said that, there and you said that in your application and its contradictory. We don’t know to what degree they’re going to worry about the contradiction of one statement to another. Are they going to just say, oh well that’s not really important or are they going to say that contradiction is enough to stop amnesty?
|The Hani lawyers asked why the applicants had remained silent about the existence of these records. They said it showed that the applicants were not making a full disclosure. // I want to read, firstly to hand in, copies of a letter on president counsel letterheads written by Mr. Derby-Lewis to the Colonel in charge of the investigation on the 16th of May 1993. // ‘Dear Colonel, just a brief letter to you and your staff in order to thank you. I shall remember you all positively. Kind regards, Clive Derby-Lewis.’
|One of the central issues in the complicated story dished out to the Amnesty Committee is that of a so-called hit list. The list contained the names of many prominent people, including that of Chris Hani. The list have been obtained from Derby-Lewis’ wife and given to Janusz Walus. The Committee seemed perplexed at the explanation that it was not a hit list, but merely a list of addresses needed for journalistic purposes.
|The first address given is that of Mr. Nelson Mandela and then there are some notes: the house of such and so is deliberately not numbered but is easily recognizable by ‘bla bla bla.’ It’s obvious why this description is there mister Chairman to me, and that is because the house was not numbered there had to be another way of identifying the house for further follow-up purposes. The second address Mr. Chairman was ... // Excuse me Mr. Derby-Lewis, if that is so why was it necessary for that list to have specific information with regard to the high tech electronic surveillance system which was in that house? // I have no idea Mr. Chairman; in fact that has really puzzled me about this whole thing. // That kind of detail that appears, I find it difficult that it served some journalistic purpose. // As far as the journalistic purposes are concerned, the reason why this whole thing was being done, was because my wife was busy with articles, a series of articles on people jumping ...more
|Derby-Lewis provided Janusz Walus with a pistol needed for the assassination. // Well the whole objective was to plunge the country into a situation where as a result of the chaos which we anticipated would occur as a result of the assassination that people on the right would be inspired to mobilize and use this vacuum caused by the chaos to affect a counter-revolution and to take over part of the country. That was the whole object and I mean that’s why a man like the late Chris Hani had to be the target, because imagine if we targeted anyone else, anyone else, there was no one that had the sort of following that the late Chris Hani had. And as I said earlier, I said perhaps it was even a tribute to the status of Chris Hani that he was selected as a target.
|On the fifth day of hearings Clive Derby-Lewis was finally taken under cross examination. The Hani family opposes the granting of amnesty and their legal team aim to show that Clive Derby-Lewis had a history of lying to courts. They also implied that he was lying about his wife’s involvement in planning the assassination.