Suspects held in Hani inquiry: Police confirm plot after five more arrests

THE SOUTH AFRICAN police arrested five more right-wingers before dawn yesterday in connection with the assassination of the African National Congress (ANC) leader, Chris Hani, and confirmed widespread suspicions that he had been the victim of conspiracy.

A few hours after the arrests a car-bomb exploded in the underground car park of a 25-storey building in Amanzimtoti, a resort town south of Durban, injuring nine people. By last night no one had claimed responsibility but police could not discount the possibility the incident was related to the political turmoil generated by Hani's death.

One of the five arrested yesterday was Gaye Derby-Lewis, the Australian-born wife of Clive Derby-Lewis, the former far-right MP arrested on Saturday. The others were Arthur Kemp, Faan Venter, Lionel du Randt and Edwin Clark, all understood to have right-wing connections. Mr du Randt and Mr Clark were released after questioning.

Brigadier Frans Malherbe, a senior police spokesman, told reporters: 'We believe there has been a conspiracy.' Other police sources said later the arrests were connected not only to the Hani investigation, but 'to something much wider'.

Mrs Derby-Lewis is a journalist on the South African Conservative Party mouthpiece, the Patriot, and a prolific writer of letters to the mainstream press. A member of the CP delegation at multi-party talks earlier this month, her reputation as a rabid, Communist-fixated racist almost matches her husband's.

Mr Kemp was working as a journalist on Johannesburg's Citizen newspaper until a month ago. The Citizen, traditionally a supporter of the ruling National Party, today stands to the right of President F W de Klerk. It emerged last week that this is the only daily newspaper read by the man who allegedly fired the shots that killed Hani, the Polish emigre Janusz Walus.

Before joining the Citizen, Mr Kemp worked with Mrs Derby-Lewis on the Patriot and before that he was a CP spokesman in Pretoria. The Johannesburg Star said yesterday he had travelled several times to Germany, on occasion with Mr Derby-Lewis who operates within a wide international network of extreme right-wing organisations.

The police said yesterday they had achieved their 'breakthrough' in the Hani investigation on the basis of information provided by Mr Derby-Lewis.

Amid reports that more arrests are to follow, Commander George Churchill-Coleman, a senior Scotland Yard detective, arrived in Johannesburg yesterday to assist the South African police in their investigations.

In parliament, meanwhile, Mr de Klerk, who gave his blessing to requests by the ANC and others for 'international experts' to watch over the investigation, received 30 pieces of silver from a Conservative MP. Willie Snyman said he was acting at the request of army officers angered by the President's decision last year to disband Special Forces' notorious 32 Battalion.