Photo: The grave of Chris Hani and the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance. Source: City of Ekurhuleni. - Photo: 2022

Chris Hani’s Killer Stays Behind Bars After Stabbing Incident Holds Up Parole

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK (IDN) — South Africa’s Dept. of Correctional Services has confirmed “an unfortunate stabbing incident” involving the killer of anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani. The right-wing Polish-born Janusz Walus survived the incident but his scheduled release on parole is no longer confirmed.

The office of the justice minister confirmed Janusz Walus won’t be released on parole as scheduled for December 1.

Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri, released a short statement saying that Walus’ parole had not been finalized.

The statement read: “By agreement between his legal representatives and the State attorney, the matter of Mr Walus’ parole will only be [finalized] after he has received the necessary medical clearance from [a] medical team.”

An earlier announcement of Walus’ release on parole stunned supporters of South Africa’s ANC ruling party and the South African Communist Party.

Walus was stabbed in Kgosi Mampuru Prison on November 29 afternoon and has been receiving treatment in the prison’s healthcare facility.

The 69-year-old was lining up for dinner when he was stabbed in his upper body with a sharp object.

Hani, the leader of the South African Communist Party, was a senior member of the military wing of the African National Congress, the former liberation movement which is now in power. He was the most popular politician after South Africa’s first Black president, Nelson Mandela, and his murder caused much shock and anger.

Hani’s wife, Limpho, called the decision to free Hani’s killer, Janusz Walus, “truly diabolical.” She and the government had vigorously opposed attempts by Walus, 69, to gain his freedom after almost three decades in prison.

Walus was denied parole multiple times over the years and eventually challenged the matter in the Constitutional Court. He was initially sentenced to death for Hani’s murder, but the sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment after the death penalty was abolished.

In his ruling on behalf of the Constitutional Court, Chief Justice Ray Zondo acknowledged that Walus had committed a “very serious crime”.

“He nearly plunged South Africa into a civil war after carrying out a cold-blooded murder,” the Justice said, but nonetheless, the refusal to grant Walus parole was “irrational.”

“The principle of equality before the law was not just written for those who fought apartheid – but [also for] those who actively supported it,” Zondo maintained. Walus should now be released within ten days.

Clive Derby-Lewis was Walus’s co-conspirator in the murder, giving the gun to Walus that was used to kill Hani. He was released on parole in June 2015 and died a year later at age 80.

Walus, a Polish immigrant, had links to the Afrikaner far right. While in prison, Walus became a symbol for young Polish nationalists and fascists. His South African citizenship was revoked in 2017. Some have called for his deportation.

On November 31, members of the ANC and its alliance partners marched to Kgosi Mampuru Prison to demonstrate against Walus’ release.

Adriaan Basson, editor-in-chief of News24, took issue with the ANC protest. “Rather than championing the supremacy of the law and assisting society to get to grips with the Walus judgment—difficult to accept as it may be for some—the ANC has chosen the populist route, at a very high cost,” he declared in a recent editorial.

“As despicable as Walus’ crime was, and as much as one has sympathy for Limpho Hani and her family being continuously re-traumatised when this matter comes to court, there is simply no way to argue that the laws of the country should not be applied to one particular individual.”

Solly Mapaila, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), responded: “For the right-wingers who wanted to plunge our country into chaos, they killed comrade Chris Hani.” His murder “left a gaping wound in his family, the SACP and the ranks of the working class… The judgment has rubbed salt in the wound.” [IDN-InDepthNews — 02 December 2022]

Photo: The grave of Chris Hani and the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance. Source: City of Ekurhuleni.

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