Released on medical parole 17 months ago after serving 22 years as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Hani, Derby-Lewis died in November.
Before he died, Derby-Lewis gave an interview to Forum Films in which he talked about his life, politics, assassination attempts in prison and Hani’s murder.
“Chris Hani was a hard-line communist who was determined, at all costs, even laying the country to waste, to achieve his political aims. He was a radical, he was uncontrollable by the ANC higher authorities. He was a man who targeted civilians in preference to military targets and as far as we were concerned he was public enemy number one,” he said.
Note: Skip to the second video for the discussion around Hani’s death
When asked why Hani was the target instead of Nelson Mandela or Thabo Mbeki, Derby-Lewis said: “We wanted South Africa to be delivered into a state where they couldn’t govern any longer and then the security forces would have to declare martial law. They would take over and restore law and order and then elections would have to be arranged.”
After that election, according to Derby-Lewis, the policy of separate development would have continued because “it was working, it was successful”.
He added that he could reconcile his Christian faith with the assassination of Hani because the country was in a state of war.
“Unfortunately the security forces controlled it so well that the average man in the street had no idea. The only people who were aware were the relatives and friends of the youngsters killed on the border, engaged in the war against Swapo, the East Germans and the Cubans. But it was far away. In our cities and towns, things were peaceful thanks to the government. The control was good. So people didn’t realise there was war. In wartime anything goes.”
He also said one of the problems with Hani was that as an “ardent communist, he didn’t believe in the almighty God anyway and I saw him as being part of the anti-Christ”.
Derby-Lewis explained how he procured a weapon for Polish immigrant and co-conspirator Janusz Walus, who pulled the trigger.
Both men were sentenced to death but their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment.
The SACP, which maintains that the full truth about Hani’s murder in 1993 never emerged, is pushing for an investigation into whether Derby-Lewis told his wife more about the mattter before he died.
SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo told the Sunday Times that without full disclosure from Derby-Lewis about what really happened when Hani was killed, his family would never have closure.
”Every time something is published about Comrade Chris Hani, it’s a painful reminder for the family and it takes them back to the day of his assassination.”
Mashilo said the party would convene a central committee meeting next month and propose a resolution for an inquest into Hani’s death.
”The committee will decide if the minister of justice or the National Prosecuting Authority should be petitioned. We might even petition the president. We will see which legal route to follow,” he said.
Watch the third part of the interview here: