Janusz Walus, who migrated from Poland to South Africa in 1981, was supporter of racist apartheid system
South Africa’s Constitutional Court on Monday ordered the release of Janusz Walus, who was jailed for killing anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani in 1993, on parole.
“The decision of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services made in March 2022 denying the applicant’s application for parole, is reviewed and set aside,” Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said in his judgment.
According to the court order, Walus should be placed on parole in the next 10 days.
Walus, a Polish immigrant who acquired South African citizenship, gunned down Hani outside his home in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, in April 1993.
The assassination nearly threw South Africa into a civil war barely a year into its transition from apartheid to democratic rule.
In 2020, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola said he would not approve Walus’ application for parole despite the long time he served in jail as the crime he committed was “a deliberate cold murder preceded by weeks of planning.’’
Lamola further said, “The crime was intended and had the potential to bring a civil war within the republic at the time.”
However, Zondo said all are equal before the law and the bill of justice was not written for those who fought apartheid but even those who actively supported it. Zondo said he considered the 28 years the white supremacist served in prison.
Outrage over judgment
Chris Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, expressed disappointment over the court order, calling the judgment “diabolical.”
“This court has not even addressed the victims. This country is finished. A foreign white person can come into the country and kill my husband and then the court does not refer to my family and trauma (we went through),” Limpho Hani told reporters.
In 1993, Walus was sentenced to death for Hani’s murder but the sentence was later commuted to life in prison.
Hani was the leader of the South African Communist Party, a close partner of the ruling African National Congress.
The South African Communist Party also expressed displeasure with the judgment.