The Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has decided that Janusz Walus, the man who killed Chris Hani, must be granted parole within ten days. The ConCourt determined that Justice Minister Ronald Ramola’s decision to deny Walus release in 2020 was irrational in a unanimous ruling handed down by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo. A Polish immigrant named Walus is currently incarcerated for life at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria for the murder of Hani outside his Boksburg home on April 10, 1993, with Clive Derby-Lewis’ help. Hani served as the general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and was a former leader of uMkhonto we Sizwe.
In March 2020, Walus requested that the ConCourt overturn the Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA) ruling that had denied him the right to appeal against the Pretoria High Court’s decision upholding Lamola’s refusal to grant him parole. The SCA had dismissed Walus’s leave to appeal. Advocate Roelof du Plessis, Walus’ attorney, stated that his client was rehabilitated and had expressed regret for killing Hani. Du Plessis asserted that Walus had often apologized to the Hani family and had acknowledged the injustice of apartheid.
Chris Hani Death
In April 1993, Walus shot Hani three times at the close range, once in the chin, once behind the ear, and once in the chest as he gathered up the newspapers outside his house. He was detained and given the death penalty. When South Africa’s legalized system of racial discrimination, apartheid, came to an end in 1994, the death penalty was abolished and the punishment was changed to life in prison. In South Africa, the murder of Hani continues to stir strong feelings. His passing shocked and infuriated many people because he was considered the most well-liked leader after South Africa’s first black president Nelson Mandela. Walus is a South African citizen who immigrated from Poland; his citizenship was cancelled in 2017. Some have demanded that he be deported.
Hani had just stepped out of his car after returning from the neighborhood corner store where he had bought a newspaper when a red Ford Laser being driven by a White male drew up behind him in the driveway. The White man only called out “Mr. Hani,” which caused Hani to turn around, and then he walked out of his car, grabbed a 9mm pistol, and shot Hani once in the body. The assassin then approached Hani extremely closely and fired three more times into his head. Then he calmly got back into his car, reversed out of the driveway, and accelerated toward the heart of Boksburg.
Anti-Communist Polish refugee Januzs Walus had strong ties to the White nationalist AWB. Hani’s children and wife (Limpho Hani) were all away during the occurrence of the incident Interestingly, a theory based mostly on materials provided to the Mail & Guardian points to a conspiracy beyond the right wing, linking the killing to the ANC. Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis was also accused of being involved in the murder.
Hani’s passing occurred just as South Africa needed him most. The SACP was on the verge of becoming a powerful political force on its own. Due to the financial catastrophe in Europe, it was now without cash and a capable head. The assassination assisted in getting the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum’s quarreling negotiators to agree on a date for South Africa’s first democratic election.
The reasoning behind the Walus Parole grant
The highest court in the land was unanimous in its decision, read by Chief Justice Raymond Zondo on Monday, and ordered Lamola to take the required actions to release Walus on parole within ten days of the ruling. According to Zondo, the court considered the following criteria.
- The offender’s adjustment and behavior while incarcerated, as well as the facility’s clean record for him
- The criminal participated in interdisciplinary programs at the penitentiary facility that were geared toward his rehabilitation
- Possibilities for work should he be granted parole
- The criminal’s status as a first-time offender
- The psychologists’ and social workers’ reports
- The offender’s sincere regret for the murder they committed
- Psychologists view that there is little chance the criminal will commit another crime
According to Judge Raymond Zondo, Walu’s prison record of discipline over a period of more than 25 years validates the aforementioned considerations. “There is no complaint that over so many years the applicant has ever had any incidents of ill-discipline. By all accounts, he seems to have been an exemplary prisoner.”Zondo agreed that Waluś committed a horrendous crime, however, “no matter how serious the crime is for which a person is sent to jail, the court has no power to say that he or she should not be considered for parole for a period after the expiry of 25 years of imprisonment”.
He claimed that since Walu first qualified to be considered for parole, more than 15 years have passed. In actuality, he qualified for parole consideration in 2005. Zondo continued by saying that Walu had apologized to Hani’s family, including his wife and children, numerous times.
Outrage over judgment
Following his decision in the Constitutional Court to grant parole to her husband’s killer, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo received criticism from Limpho Hani, the wife of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani who was shot and killed nearly 30 years ago. Zondo issued his decision on Monday afternoon and ordered that Janusz Walus must be released on parole within ten days. The Hani family is furious with the decision, and after the verdict, a furious Limpho stormed out of court.
“This court has not even addressed the victims. I don’t exist. He is busy giving us a lecture about a Polish man who came to SA to kill my husband. Do you understand how I feel?” Limpho asked.
“Chief Justice Raymond Zondo has failed this country completely, and I am not going to apologise. This country is finished. In this country, a foreign white can come into South Africa and kill my husband. He (Zondo) couldn’t give a shit. He couldn’t be bothered,” she said.
Limpho described the judgment as “diabolical”.
“I have never seen something like this in my life. If my husband was not killed, we would have never had elections. Mandela, after my husband was murdered, said to [FW] de Klerk for us to stop this, give us an election date. That is why Zondo and his friends today are sitting in this court.”
“Sickeningly disappointing,” Solly Mapaila, that how the general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) gave this account of the Constitutional Court’s decision to grant Janusz Walus, who was convicted of killing SACP leader Chris Hani in 1993, released on Monday.“The SACP fully supports the family of Chris Hani, who was the general secretary of the party when he was assassinated on 10 April 1993. The assassination of Hani left a gaping wound in his family, the SACP, and the ranks of the working class. The judgment has rubbed salt in the wound.” In a statement, Mapaila said the Constitutional Court’s judgment had “far-reaching implications” that compelled the SACP to analyse it and “look for a new way forward under the circumstances”.
The judgment delivered by the Constitutional Court on Monday, 21 November 2022, is sickeningly disappointing, to say the least. This is how the South African Communist Party (SACP) General Secretary Solly Mapaila reacted on behalf of the Party to the judgment.
— SACP (@SACP1921) November 21, 2022
Speaking to media outside constitutional courts on Monday evening, Lamola’s spokesperson, Chrispin Phiri said “The Ministry notes the decision of the Constitutional Court. It is the apex court of the country and holds important significance in the matter. We will be carefully studying the judgment to understand its implications broadly on policy and other endeavours in the department,” he added. The Constitutional Court, Phiri said, “argued that the basis of the Minister’s decision is impugned because the nature of the crime which is one of the factors which the Minister took into account – would not change, and the sentence remarks of the court would not change any time soon”.
In a statement on Monday evening, the EFF rejected the Constitutional Court ruling to release Walus on parole, saying it “will invoke instability in our country. The decision to release Janusz Walus is callous, insensitive and regressive, and is made by a self-centered collective led by Raymond Zondo, who have today spit on the grave of Chris Hani and those who died fighting for the freedom of this country.”
EFF Statement On The Release Of Chris Hani’s Murderer Janusz Waluś pic.twitter.com/KRdluMI8oF
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 22, 2022
The Hani family “has constantly opposed his release owing to the trauma they suffered,” The EFF, who insisted that there has been no resolution between Walus and them. According to rule 42(1)(a) of the Uniform Rules of Court, the party urged the government and the Hani family to request the revocation of this ruling.
Panyaza Lesufi, the chairperson of the African National Congress in Gauteng, claimed that the Constitutional Court’s decision to grant Janusz Walus parole had caused a wound to become infected. Lesufi said the ruling has opened a wound that we thought has healed.”And they say every wound has a story. But this particular story is a particularly special story. Chris Hani is not an ordinary person. Chris Hani delivered this freedom we enjoy.”Lesufi said there should be a national day of action to mark Walus’ release.
“We feel betrayed, we feel let down and we can’t leave this unattended. And we call upon the SACP to convene and lead us on this matter. And we must not be apologetic. There’s no one that will impose reconciliation on us. There’s no one that will impose pain on us, and there’s no one that will force us to forgive somebody. It must be out of our own making. And we can’t also fold our arms and allow miscarriage of justice to happen.”