ConCourt orders 'irrational' Lamola to free Chris Hani's killer Janusz Waluś within 10 days

Hani's widow Limpho slams chief justice Raymond Zondo's 'diabolical' judgment

21 November 2022 - 15:06
By Belinda Pheto
Janusz Waluś, the Polish immigrant who assassinated the SACP leader and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe Chris Hani in 1993. File photo.
Image: Len Khumalo Janusz Waluś, the Polish immigrant who assassinated the SACP leader and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe Chris Hani in 1993. File photo.

The Constitutional Court on Monday set aside the decision of justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola refusing parole to Chris Hani's killer, Janusz Waluś.

Delivering his ruling, chief justice Raymond Zondo said “the minister's decision was irrational, falls to be reviewed and must be set aside”.  

He ordered Lamola to release Waluś within 10 days. 

Waluś, a Polish immigrant who killed the SACP leader and anti-apartheid activist in April 1993, has been serving a life sentence at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility.

Waluś asked the apex court to set aside the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss his leave to appeal against a high court judgment that upheld the refusal of his parole by Lamola in March 2020. 

Zondo said the court needed to take into account that he was involved in a serious crime that was meticulously planned. He said his conduct and that of right-wing politician Clive Derby-Lewis almost plunged the country into civil unrest. 

Zondo said it seemed that Waluś and Derby-Lewis had been intentional in delaying democracy when they killed Hani. He highlighted that they had served the minimum required time behind bars before they could be considered for parole.

Waluś, who was convicted in October 1993, has been eligible to apply for almost two decades.

He and Derby-Lewis were both sentenced to death but their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment when SA abolished the death penalty.

Derby-Lewis, who had allegedly ordered the hit carried out by Waluś, was granted medical parole in 2015 and died the following year of cancer.

Among Lamola’s reasons for denying the parole application was that the trial court which had jailed him had wanted to send a message that would clarify that assassinating political leaders was unacceptable.

Waluś said it was of public importance to establish the reasons and grounds for his continued incarceration. In his bid for freedom, he said: “If I do not succeed with this application, it appears I will be incarcerated forever, which is an unjust, inhumane and cruel punishment.”

Hani's widow Limpho, who has always opposed Waluś's release, was seething as she addressed the media after Zondo's ruling, saying karma would deal with those who had let her husband's killer free. 

"This judgment is diabolical," she said.

This is a developing story. 


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