The decision by former minister of justice Michael Masutha not to place Janusz Walus on parole should not be reviewed and set aside, according to Masutha’s legal team.
Convicted of killing anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, Walus’ application to set aside the former minister’s decision was heard in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
Advocate Roelof du Plessis, on behalf of Walus, said his client had shown remorse for his actions, having apologised to the family and going through extensive rehabilitation.
He added that, according to Walus’ psychologists, he had rejected racism, accepted democracy and agreed that “even if he has a problem with communism as an ideology, he will not kill someone who supports the ideology”.
“He admits to rationalising [his actions] before, during and shortly after he committed the crime but presently, he has a different view of the matter altogether.”
Du Plessis added that Masutha was biased in his decision earlier this year.
He said the former minister had “simply noted” critical information from clinical and social workers’ reports which, he added “indicates bias and not taking into account relevant considerations”.
Du Plessis added that while psychological assessments concluded Walus suffered from some psychological problems, such as anger issues and thoughts of suicide, there was not enough clinical indications to confirm that he was depressed.
While Walus was currently undergoing psychotherapy, Du Plessis said, he would benefit from more sessions even after his release.
On behalf of the former minister, however, advocate Marumo Moerane SC said the assertion that Walus was remorseful was unfounded.
“This opinion that [Walus] showed no remorse for the murder of Chris Hani … this appears on his clinical observations.”
Moerane added that Walus had only apologised to the family some 20 years after the fact, saying that he still maintained the philosophical ideals that underpinned the murder.
“His experience moulded his perceptions in South Africa and encouraged his strong opinions against communist leadership.
“His opinions regarding communist leadership still remain, he acknowledges that even though it was an instruction from a higher ranking official than himself, he takes responsibility for planning and implementing the murder.”
Moerane said the former minister had taken into account various factors in his decision to deny Walus parole.
This included a security risk assessment as well as the interest and safety of the public.
He said there was no merit in saying the former minister was biased in his decision, as there was now a new minister in his place.
“We submit that there is no merit that the case should be reviewed and set aside, and furthermore, there are no exceptional circumstances as required,” Moerane said.
While he added that the former minister’s decision to deny Walus parole should not be reviewed, Du Plessis said some medical experts were of the opinion that he had shown remorse, asking “what should he have done more?”
As a final note, Du Plessis asked Judge Jody Kollapen to consider whether Walus would stay in South Africa or be deported to his homeland, Poland.
Moerane, however, said he could not be deported until he served his parole.
Judgment was reserved.