Judgment reserved as Janusz Walus fights decision not to grant him parole

07 October 2019 - 13:59 By Ernest Mabuza
Members of the SACP at Janusz Walus's previous parole application in August last year.
Members of the SACP at Janusz Walus's previous parole application in August last year.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Pretoria high court judge Jody Kollapen on Monday reserved judgment in the application brought by Janusz Walus to set aside former justice minister Michael Masutha's decision not to place him on parole.

Walus was convicted of the murder of SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani.

Masutha's counsel, Marumo Moerane SC, told the court on Monday that Masutha's decision not to grant Walus parole in January this year was rational.

The minister is opposing Walus's application to set aside Masutha's decision.

Moerane said the minister had taken into account reports showing commendable behaviour by Walus while incarcerated, the various programmes aimed at his rehabilitation, and statements which were favourable to him contained in psychological reports and those compiled by social workers and correctional services officials.

"Notwithstanding these positive factors, the interest of the community not to be placed in danger of a person likely to reoffend was taken into account," Moerane said.

Moerane said the report, compiled by psychologist Joel Mbele, showed that Walus demonstrated no remorse for Hani's murder.

"Mr Mbele's report was balanced. He makes certain statements and expresses opinions that are in favour of [Walus]. One cannot see bias.

"This opinion that [Walus] showed no remorse appears under Mr Mbele's clinical observations. The minister could not ignore this opinion," Moerane said.

Moerane said Masutha's concern about Walus's lack of remorse was justifiable.

"If one does not have remorse, the risk of reoffending is enhanced."

Moerane said Masutha's decision not to place Walus on parole was rationally connected to the information before him.

He said the decision achieved a reasonable equilibrium between positive factors favouring Walus's release on parole and the factors negating his placement on parole.