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By Marizka Coetzer


Waluś should be released to Poland, ‘or he’ll be a burden for SA’s security establishment’

'Those like him have serious difficulties in living freely in South Africa.'

As the second anniversary of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s death approaches on 26 December, it is clear his dream of a “Rainbow Nation”, coined after SA’s first democratic election in 1994, has long faded.

And with the country anxiously anticipating the release of Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Waluś, experts say it will not be as easy as forgiving and forgetting.

Waluś’ parole announcement sparked protest marches, and allegations that Hani’s grave had been vandalised soon surfaced.

Waluś will be serving his parole in South Africa.

Who sent him?

At a local taxi rank, Joseph Themba said Waluś should tell the truth about who sent him.

“We don’t mind them releasing him, but he owes us the truth. Someone sent him here, someone paid him, someone told him what to do,” Themba said.

Professor Kgothatso Shai, head of the department of cultural and political studies at the University of Limpopo, said Waluś should be released to his country of birth (Poland), “otherwise, he will become a burden for the country’s security establishment”.

“Those like him have serious difficulties in living freely in South Africa. They can’t simply go to a mall due to security concerns. Their home addresses are top secret,” he said.

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“In this case, my view is that reconciliation is not based on truth and is not healing and is thus unsustainable. So much remains under the veil of secrecy around Hani’s death. If Waluś was remorseful, he would have taken the nation into proper confidence.”

Professor Christi van der Westhuizen, the author of ‘White Power and the Rise and Fall of the National Party’, said it was important for white people not to indulge in visions of forgiving and forgetting.

“If you think about the seriousness of apartheid… into our lives today, we can see the continued impoverishment of black people. The vast majority of poor people are black people.

“That’s the legacy of apartheid that has been compounded by the collapse of state services and corruption,” she said.

To keep that apartheid system in place, involved serious violence, including state violence.

“The ’80s were a violent era, where the regime tried to suppress the uprising against apartheid through extreme state violence,” she said. “Part of that was the violence of the far right.

She said Waluś had timed the murder in an effort to stop the peace negotiations.

“It was a serious attempt to try and stop the peace process. That’s why there’s a lot of emotion around Hani’s assassination,” she added.

ALSO READ: Janusz Walus to serve his parole in South Africa, not Poland – Motsoaledi

Van der Westhuizen said Waluś had almost single-handedly stopped the peace process and plunged SA into a civil war.

“One cannot forgive and forget that kind of serious crime, where somebody was killed and almost wrecked SA’s prospects for peace,” she said.

Controversy around Walus ‘understandable’

Political analyst Piet Croucamp said the controversy around the release of Hani was political and understandable.

“We should separate and distinguish between legal jurisdiction and political jurisdiction. It’s within people to oppose releasing his killer and raise issues of SA’s past.

“Those are all legitimate concerns, but [Chief Justice Raymond] Zondo released Waluś in terms of legal principles. Where the rule of law prevails and everyone is equal before the law.”

Croucamp said Waluś was granted parole because SA was a humane society, which accepted people could be rehabilitated.

But “it doesn’t correspond with our sense of justice. We think if you are a killer, you don’t deserve to live. It’s a legitimate argument”.

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