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Wed Jun 29 12:50:56 SAST 2016

Walus parole raises concerns about our justice system

The Times Editorial | 11 March, 2016 00:37

How much clemency should we show to an assassin who took this country to the brink of civil war? The Pretoria High Court's decision yesterday that Janusz Walus, the man who killed Chris Hani in 1993, be released from prison within 14 days raises many questions.

His co-conspirator, Clive Derby-Lewis, was released on medical parole in June last year.

While the courts have a right to apply the law, the public has the right to ask questions and to express doubts.

Under our constitution the death penalty is no longer in existence but we rely on life imprisonment to shield us from hardened criminals.

Walus is now about to benefit from the laws put in place by a democratic government he opposed .

We fully understand the pain and anger expressed over this verdict.

People have every right to ask: W hat does it take for Walus and other hardened criminals to serve a full life sentence in this country?

We support our justice system but we need to have a serious dialogue about what a life sentence means and when and how it should be carried out.

Those who continue to inflict pain on our nation should know that if they are sentenced to life imprisonment it means life behind bars with no option of parole.

Failure to tighten the justice system in cases like this will open the wounds we desperately need to heal.

The verdict has opened up debate from some quarters whose members are still languishing in prison.

The Pan Africanist Congress raised serious concerns yesterday about the fairness of the justice system. The party says the apartheid government had been hostile towards it and the present government under the ANC is continuing that hostile attitude.

If we are to dispense justice fairly we need to come to a definite conclusion on what constitutes a life sentence in prison.

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