A South African judge has granted parole to a man convicted for the 1993 assassination of Chris Hani, a leading opponent of the white minority rule at the time.

Justice Department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga said Clive Derby-Lewis was granted medical parole on Friday. Mhaga says Derby-Lewis, 79, has cancer.

Derby-Lewis and Polish immigrant Janusz Walus were sentenced to life in prison for the shooting of Chris Hani. Hani was leader of the South African Communist Party and head of the military wing of the African National Congress, the main anti-apartheid movement that became the ruling party in South Africa's first all-race elections in 1994.

Walus, who remains in jail, said after his arrest that he and Derby-Lewis hoped the assassination would plunge South Africa into chaos ahead of the elections.