Janusz Walus remained a risk to society, showed no remorse for his actions and still saw “nothing wrong in eliminating a communist who was a father”.
It was for these reasons that Justice Minister Michael Masutha denied Walus’ parole application, a decision which was made public on Friday morning. This was the second time that Masutha denied Walus’ parole application.
Masutha cited among his reasons the findings of a psychologist’s report that stated how Walus “remains unchanged in his views and does not disavow the use of violence in fighting communists”.
He also took into account the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment in so far as it related to representations made by Hani’s wife Limpho, Walus and recommendations made by the parole board. In her representation, Limpho said Walus had not told the truth about the assassination, that there were others involved and that Walus knew who these individuals were but refused to reveal their identities.
Walus, a polish immigrant, and Clive Derby-Lewis were sentenced to death for gunning down Hani outside his home in Boksburg on 10 April 1993. Derby-Lewis provided the weapon while Walus was the trigger man.
In his application, Walus claimed he was just a “foot soldier” and was on the “lowest part of the ladder” and claimed not to know his accomplice Derby-Lewis well. However the psychologist’s report revealed how Walus met Derby-Lewis in 1986 and how he later helped him campaign to run for Parliament for the Conservative party. Derby-Lewis was released on medical parole in June 2015. He has since succumbed to the disease.
Taking all this into account, Masutha believed that Walus had not been rehabilitated and still posed a security risk to the state. But Masutha said his decision was not politically motivated. “We believe in the rule of law… our decisions are challenged successfully, sometimes unsuccessfully,” he said, adding that “in dealing with any matter, I look at what is brought before me and make a rational decision”.
Friday’s decision follows an appeal against a judgment by the North Gauteng High Court last year which granted Walus parole. In her ruling, Judge Nicolene Janse Van Nieuwenhuizen suggested that it was time for Hani’s widow to forget and move on.
In response Limpho Hani said : “I am not upset, but highly irritated that this white woman can tell me how to feel and forgive and move on.”
Janse van Nieuwenhuizen’s decision was met with outrage by the Hani family and the SACP. At the time the SACP’s Alex Mashilo told PowerFM that “it was a barbaric act which must be condemned. We believe he must not be released”.
The Department of Justice and Correctional Services took the judgment on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal who “remitted” the matter to Masutha “for his consideration and decision within 90 days”.
Walus has served 24 years in prison of a sentence that was commuted to life after the death penalty was revoked. DM
Photo: Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus Photo: eNCA
"Those who will not reason are bigots; those who cannot are fools; and those who dare not are slaves." ~ George Gordon Byron