Parole for Hani’s killer Janusz Walus roiled by appeals, protests

The SACP, which Hani used to head, said it was petitioning the court to go back on its ruling.

The release from prison of the far-right killer of anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani hung in the balance on Wednesday, amid fierce bids to block the move.

Janusz Walus, a 69-year-old immigrant from then-communist Poland, was to be released by today after being controversially granted parole by the Constitutional Court.

But the decision has ignited angry protests. On Tuesday, Walus was stabbed inside prison.

SACP opposing Walus parole

Yesterday, the South African Communist Party (SACP), which Hani used to head, said it was petitioning the court to go back on its ruling.

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“Yesterday, we filed our documents with the Constitutional Court, as well as with the high court, and against the minister of justice to oppose the release,” SACP secretary-general Solly Mapaila told AFP.

He later explained they were seeking a rescission order, which would “reverse this decision”.

The party has asked Justice Minister Ronald Lamola to halt execution of the parole order until the petition is concluded.

Parole for Hani’s killer Janusz Walus roiled by appeals, protests
African National Congress and alliance partners in Gauteng march to Kgosi Mampuru 11 Correctional Services protest to show their disapproval of the release of Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus, 30 November 2022. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Mapaila spoke as he led hundreds of demonstrators in front of the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria, where Walus is receiving treatment.

He was allegedly attacked by another inmate, according to prison authorities, who have launched an investigation. Details of his injuries have not been released.

‘Don’t kill Chris Hani again’

The SACP, a political ally of the ANC, has been leading rolling protests since the weekend.

Protesters, including senior ANC politicians, wore black T-shirts bearing Hani’s portrait captioned “Don’t kill Chris Hani again: The struggle continues”.

Armed prison officials with dogs stood guard behind green metal gates as protesters chanted.

Hani, a hugely popular figure and fierce opponent of the apartheid regime, was the SACP’s general secretary and chief of staff of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the ANC.

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ALSO READ: Janusz Waluś stabbed in prison – Correctional Services confirms

He was shot dead in his driveway on 10 April, 1993 in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg. The killing almost plunged SA into a race war.

It occurred as negotiations to end apartheid were entering their final phase, stoking protests and rioting in townships, which some feared would erupt into civil war.

Then ANC president Nelson Mandela appealed for calm on national television, a move that helped ease tensions and open the way for SA’s first democratic elections the following year.

Walus was quickly arrested and handed a death sentence – a punishment which was commuted to life imprisonment after the death penalty was abolished in post-apartheid South Africa.

Clive Derby-Lewis, who supplied the gun, was released in 2015 on medical parole after 22 years in jail. He died of lung cancer in 2016, aged 80.

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