Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has denied Janusz Walus parole again on Monday.
Polish-born Walus gunned down Hani in the driveway of his home in Boksburg in April 1993, a year before South Africa’s first democratic elections. He was initially sentenced to death but this was later converted to a life sentence after capital punishment was abolished.
The “nature” and “seriousness” of the crime was considered by the justice minister in making the decision.
Lamola said he used the full record of the case, which included the latest profile of the offender, previous judgments by the high court and the SCA, along with submissions made by Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, and the SACP when making the decision on his parole.
He said: “At the time of imposition of sentence, the trial court and the Supreme Court of Appeal made the following remarks, among others: ‘The murder was a deliberate, cold-blooded one… It was preceded by weeks of planning. The killing was cold-blooded… after the first bullet struck him, the accused came close up and administered the coup de grace from close range. This was a cold-blooded assassination of a defenceless victim.
“The record before me clearly reveals that the court took this fact into consideration when sentencing Walus to death. The crime was intended and had the potential to bring about a civil war within the republic at the time. It must also be noted that Walus was convicted of murder with no extenuating circumstances having been found to be present.
“I have also taken note of the legal regime applicable based on the date on which Walus committed the crime. This implies that should it be my decision to approve his replacement on parole, he would be on parole for a maximum period of three years, less any possible remissions for which he might qualify. Considering this fact, placing offender Walus on parole would negate the severity that the court sought when sentencing him. With this premise, and balancing both negative and positive factors, the placement on parole for offender Walus is not approved at this stage.”
This is not Walus’ first denial.
When then justice minister Michael Masutha denied him parole in January last year, he had stressed that Walus’ political views had not changed, though he showed remorse for the grief he inflicted on the family of Hani.
He said at the time: “Regarding empathy, it can be said that he expresses remorse for the fact that the victim’s children are fatherless and wife is a widow, however, he showed no remorse for murdering Chris Hani the communist leader. He still rationalises his actions and insists that they were politically motivated. His ideas about communism still stand.”
A report from a correctional services’ psychologist confirmed that Walus felt it was impossible to change his political views, though he has denounced violence as a means of achieving political ends.
Masutha said he found it difficult to make a determination, in part because of conflicting findings by different psychologists.
“It was difficult for me to make a determination on the suitability for placement on parole at this stage. I have therefore come to the following decision,” he told a media briefing.
“The placement of the offender on parole is not granted. It is directed that a further profile be submitted within six months of this decision for my consideration.”
(Compiled by Vhahangwele Nemakonde. Additional reporting, ANA)