Hani killer released on parole: Lawyer urges ConCourt to apply Ubuntu principle in appeal review

  • Janusz Walus shot and killed SACP General Secretary Chris Hani in April 1993.
  • Several corrections ministers refused to grant Walus parole.
  • On Tuesday, his lawyer said denying his client parole was “cruel and inhumane”.

Lawyer representing Janusz Walus, who shot dead SACP leader Chris Hani nearly three decades ago, argued that the decision not to grant his client parole had become “a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment “.

READ | Last chance of freedom for Janusz Walus? ConCourt agrees to hear Hani killer’s parole appeal

Lawyer Roelof du Plessis, representing Walus, said the Constitutional Court was the only court that could “assist” Walus.

Walus wants the Supreme Court to review Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s March 16, 2020 decision not to approve his parole.

His attorney said the decision not to parole Walus violated his constitutional rights. He said that if the decision did not change, he would never be granted parole.

Limpho Hani, the widow of Chris Hani is seen at the North Gauteng High Court during the parole application for her husband’s killer, Janusz Walus.

Du Plessis said no one he knows has been incarcerated for that long and therefore there should be a time when someone should be released on parole.

“We argue that the minister, simply because of the political fallout, will never make a decision here,” Du Plessis said.

“He will never make the decision to release the applicant on parole, and therefore the only party or entity that will come and assist the applicant in this case will be this court.”

Political nominees

He said that in other courts the parole decision had always been sent back to the minister, but the minister “would come up with new reasons”.

He also said the ministers were politicians appointed to their posts by the ANC, which is an alliance partner of the SACP, and “it is just difficult for any minister to make that decision”.

He said referring the case to the minister would mean “we’re going to be back in this court in two to three years”.

He added:

If I was in this post of minister, I would not have made the decision. The political fallout would be too much.

Judge Zoliswa Mhlantla asked if the court was able to intervene and override the minister’s decision if the restorative justice process had been done.

Du Plessis said the restorative justice process had been finalized, adding that his client had apologized to Hani’s wife and the South African Communist Party.

He said Walus also wrote letters to Hani’s wife, who “refuses to talk to the claimant further.”

‘There is nothing more the applicant can do about this process and this is acknowledged by the Minister, otherwise the Minister would have raised this as an additional ground for not granting parole,’ he said .

DuPlessis adds:

He has sincere remorse, and in South Africa, we have the principle of ubuntu, which [is] not applied in Western countries, which is a salutary principle. If one applies ubuntu in this case, the result should be in favor of the plaintiff, and we ask you [the apex court] do this.

He said Hani’s wife had indicated that she “will not forgive him, there will be no forgiveness”.

Walus murdered Hani on April 10, 1993. He was initially sentenced to death for the murder, but that sentence was later commuted to life behind bars. He first became eligible for parole in 2005, after serving 13 years and four months of his life sentence.

News24 previously reported that Walus had applied for parole since 2011 – and been denied each time.

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Steven L. Nielsen