Hani case defence throws in towel: South African murder verdict expected today amid suspense over fates of remaining two accused

THE CASE for the defence of Janusz Walus, the man accused of murdering Chris Hani, buckled yesterday under the weight of state evidence, and all that remains is the formality of the judge declaring him guilty, possibly as early as this afternoon.

After the state had closed its case yesterday, counsel for Mr Walus, a Polish immigrant, conceded that he was bereft of all arguments. The suspense now concerns the fates of the other two defendants, husband and wife Clive and Gaye Derby- Lewis, who are also accused of the murder of the African National Congress leader on 10 April.

Mr Walus and Mr Derby-Lewis having declined to testify, most of the day yesterday was devoted to the cross-examination of Mrs Derby-Lewis. The prosecutor, Klaus von Lieres, Johannesburg's attorney-general, set out first to establish her credentials as a fanatical anti-Communist, Mr Hani having doubled up as ANC leader and general secretary of the Communist Party. This Mr von Lieres did by quoting extensively from her articles for the Conservative Party mouthpiece Die Patriot, for which she worked as a journalist.

South Africa, she had written, was condemned to live 'under the yoke of Communist tyranny'; the country was being 'handed over to the Communists without firing a shot'; President F W de Klerk's National Party was 'selling out the whites'.

Mr von Lieres, a tall commanding presence in the courtroom, quoted Mrs Derby-Lewis' alarmist prose with ironic relish. Much taken by the 'yoke' image, which he repeated in mock understatement half a dozen times, he extracted chuckles from the gallery.

Mrs Derby-Lewis, 54, could not see what was so funny. Dressed in a severe brown and black polka-dot dress, bespectacled, with a no-nonsense short haircut - the image of the nun she once was in her native Australia - she responded with pursed lips and curt nods to the taunts. 'Yes, those are my beliefs, the National Party is giving the country to the Communists.'

A motive of sorts having been established, Mr von Lieres launched into the detail. In early January she had drawn up a list of 19 names, ten of whose addresses she had obtained by the end of the month. In the list were Nelson Mandela, Communist Party chairman Joe Slovo, four local journalists and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pik Botha, as well as Mr Hani. Was this a hit-list?

No. She had wanted to write articles about the rich lifestyles of the revolutionary leaders; about 'sell- out' white journalists, some of whom she believed to be paid agents of the state ('I can't understand how Afrikaner journalists can turn against their own people'); about Mr Botha's alleged illegal property dealings.

Curiously, she contended that she had never once - not even during the trial - talked to her husband about the list or, more surprisingly, about the alleged murder weapon, even though the case against him rests on substantial evidence that he supplied the gun to Mr Walus. This Mr von Lieres described as 'totally abnormal human behaviour'.

Perhaps the explanation lay in the answer Mrs Derby-Lewis had provided in the morning to a question from her husband's counsel. 'Are you and your husband very much in love with each other?' She paused. 'Well . . . well as much as any 10-year marriage could endure.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak