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Three decades on, Limpho Hani believes SA leaders have betrayed her husband’s legacy

Three decades on, Limpho Hani believes SA leaders have betrayed her husband’s legacy
Limpho Hani delivers the keynote address at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Chris Hani's assassination. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

The South African Communist Party is driving a campaign for an inquest into the assassination 30 years ago of struggle icon Chris Hani, in the hope of uncovering who, if anyone, ordered the killing.

Three decades after former SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani was gunned down, the SACP used Monday’s commemoration to push for an inquest into the brutal killing of the struggle stalwart during the dying days of apartheid. 

The party has started a petition to build support for its campaign.

Hani, who was also chief-of-staff of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, was fatally shot outside his home in Boksburg on 10 April 1993.

Polish immigrant Janusz Waluś, who was convicted of the killing, was released on two years’ parole in November last year. Co-accused Clive Derby-Lewis was also sentenced to life in jail. He was later released on medical grounds and died in 2016.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Waluś officially released on parole

The City of Ekurhuleni organised a commemoration at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial Park in Elsburg on Monday.

Speaking at the event, Chris Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, said the country’s leaders had betrayed Hani’s legacy as well as those South Africans who had trusted them to lead the country. 

Limpho Hani is embraced by Nomvula Mokonyane after delivering her speech commemorating the 30th anniversary of Chris Hani’s death. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Dignitaries at the commemoration. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Limpho Hani, a member of the SACP and former ANC MP, said she was angered by the reaction of then National Prosecuting Authority head Vusi Pikoli when she and SACP leaders had requested that the murder case be reopened. 

“To say his response shocked me is an understatement. I am not a police officer… there are no police officers in the SACP… but there was Mr Pikoli who demanded that we give him new evidence,” she said.

Hani said Pikoli’s response was an insult to her husband’s family.

“To him, that is Mr Pikoli, my husband’s assassination was part of the Boer apartheid statistics where our people were killed by the apartheid police. And he had no sympathy. He did not care,” she claimed. 

Limpho Hani after laying a wreath for Chris Hani. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

She said that at the time of her husband’s death, she had found an empty soda can and a cigarette butt in her garden. She brought this to the attention of the police but they declined to investigate what she thought might have been evidence of a second shooter on the scene.

SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila said the party remained true to its values and committed to its resistance to imperialism. As a result, he said, Russian President Vladimir Putin was welcome to visit South Africa to attend a Brics summit in August. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Vladimir Putin in South Africa – a diplomatic and legal dilemma for the government

Hani’s widow, who mostly read from her prepared speech, touched on a range of issues and criticised Chief Justice Raymond Zondo for reversing a decision to deny Waluś parole and ordering his release. 

“Tambo turned in his grave the day Zondo released Chris Hani’s killer,” she said. 

The event attracted a smattering of ANC leaders.

Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said Hani had “died three times”: the first was his killing 30 years ago; the second when the Memorial Park was vandalised, and finally when his killer was paroled last year. 

“Janusz Waluś will have no peace until he visits his own grave,” said Lesufi.

Blade Nzimande and Limpho Hani carry wreaths at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial site. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

Zizi Kodwa, Muzi Sikhakhane, Limpho Hani, Nomvula Mokonyane, mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana and speaker Thabiseng Tshivenga at the commemoration. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

‘I will mention names’

Limpho Hani said the release of Waluś had been heartbreaking. 

“This time our hearts are broken because those in power decided that our loss meant too little. They told us the killer of our dreams and aspirations as a family had more rights than us.”

She revealed that she has a book in the pipeline but it would only be released after she dies. “You will only read about it once I am dead because I will mention names,” she said.

Hani also appealed to her comrades in the ANC to stop making empty promises about delivery.  

Dignitaries lay wreaths at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial site. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla)

“We want delivery and we want delivery now,” she said, adding that leaders should refrain from lying to the nation.

“We voted for you because we want the truth,” she said.

She said it was understandable that there would be differences of opinion with the tripartite alliance, and tolerance was therefore required.  

“Despite all these issues, I still have hope that we can turn the corner. I have hope that we can solve all the issues and overcome them someday,” Hani said. 

Regarding her husband’s murder, she said, “Until such time as the truth comes out, I will be mourning for life.” DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Joe Soap says:

    I feel it is about time Premier Panyaza Lesufi starts at least acting like the leader he is pretending to be.

    Chris Hani was killed that was not right. Even so the ANC does not get to make up the laws on the fly: Jacob must get medical parole, Janis must not get parole. It is what the law says, not the ANC that matters (something for Premier Panyaza Lesufi to remember)

    It is understandable that Limpho is upset about Chris, it is not understandable that she is not more upset that the ANC has killed her grandchildren’s future.

    • André Pelser says:

      Lesufi is a populist that seeks to ride the wave of public opinion, a follower, not a leader.
      Chris Hani, Neil Agget, Johan Heyns were all victims of a vicious regime, but there were also innocent civilian and internal ANC victims of the struggle. Many paid a price for equality and freedom, not only prominent figures.
      Many of us lost loved ones, were victims of the system and seek truth and justice, but expressions of vengeance and retribution at commemorations of fallen heroes makes no contribution to healing and pursuit of a better and more promising future for all South Africans.
      I look forward to the book, hopefully it contains liberating truths.

  • Epsilon Indi says:

    I find it so hard to believe that these people are incapable of understanding what a constitutional democracy that operates under the rule of law is. Are they too dim to grasp that Walus was as entitled to parole as any other criminal ? Can they not understand that Zondo did the only legal thing possible with respect to Walus ? Are these people truly so intellectually limited they can’t perceive the realities of living in a democracy ? Are they too indoctrinated and simple-minded to comprehend that everyone is equal under the law ? What is wrong with them ?

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