PRETORIA August 17 1997 - SAPA


One of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani's killers, Clive Derby-Lewis, told police after his arrest that he tried to delay Hani's assassination after having a disturbing dream which he interpreted as a bad omen.

Derby-Lewis said fellow right-winger Janusz Walus made repeated calls to him in the days before the assassination, asking whether he had obtained the special sub-sonic ammunition needed for the silenced pistol that was to be used to kill Hani.

"I suggested that he contact me from time to time regarding the ammunition as I was having trouble getting it," Derby-Lewis said in a document released to the media during his amnesty hearing before the Truth and Reconcilation Commission in Pretoria on Friday. The amnesty committee hearing for Derby-Lewis and Walus is set to resume in the Pretoria city hall on Monday morning.

The former Conservative Party politician and Walus, a Polish immigrant, are seeking amnesty for Hani's April 1993 murder.

"In fact I was actually using the ammunition to delay the whole matter as I was having certain reservations regarding proceeding with the attack.

"The reasons for this was that I had recently had a bad dream in which I saw myself cashiered as an officer (Derby-Lewis is a former commanding officer of the Witwatersrand Rifles Regiment) and being sentenced to prison.

"What was most significant about this is that I very seldom, if ever, recall anything that I do dream. This particular dream made an extremely strong impression on me and certainly contributed to my uncertainty re (sic) proceeding with the attack on Hani."

Derby-Lewis' recollection of the dream was made in a statement to police while being detained without trial in terms of the Internal Security Act.

His lawyers last week told the amnesty committee the statement was inadmissable as it had been made under duress.

Derby-Lewis claimed he was subjected to period of sleep deprivation and threats of continued detention.

In the statement to police, Derby-Lewis said he met Walus on April 6, four days before the murder. The two decided that "nothing would take place over the Easter weekend as too many people would be around".

Although, Derby-Lewis repeated this claim in his amnesty application, transcripts of Walus' interrogation by police appear to contradict it.

"Clive already knew that I recced (made a reconnaissance of) Chris Hani's house on various occasions, and he told me that Chris Hani must be eliminated during the week of Easter," Walus told police.

During his interrogation Walus was asked whether there was a possibility that others on an alleged "hit-list" compiled by Derby-Lewis' wife, Gaye, could still be eliminated in spite of his arrest.

"Yes," Walus replied. "They are all bastards. The one is only more dangerous than the other one. Clive is a guy with balls, he will know what to do. You must know, we saw it as a war situation, a political issue."

The statement to police showed that Walus tried to protect Derby-Lewis from arrest while simultaneously implicating him in the murder.

"Captain, please don't go and arrest Clive Derby-Lewis also now," Walus told his interrogator.

"He is a very big friend of mine. I will take everything on myself. I was alone when I shot Hani. Clive and I only planned the murder together."

Walus' lawyer, Louise van der Walt, challenged the admissibility of the statements made by her client to police.

She told the amnesty committee, chaired by Judge Hassen Mall, that police plied Walus with alcohol until he became highly intoxicated.

On Monday George Bizos, the Hani family's lawyer, is expected to resume his cross-examination of Derby-Lewis on the extent of his wife's involvement in the plot.

Gaye Derby-Lewis, who was acquitted of Hani's murder, told police while she was in detention that she and her husband had discussed the "liquidation" of African National Congress and SACP leaders prior to Hani's murder.

However, Derby-Lewis consistently denied his wife was involved in the plot to kill Hani.

South African Press Association, 1997
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