‘Unremorseful’ Walus should not get parole, Hani’s widow tells ConCourt

Limpho Hani argues her husband’s assassination had the potential to destabilise the country at a crucial moment in its history

08 December 2021 - 16:31
Soldiers line the road outside Chris Hani's home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, as a police van prepares to take the body of the SACP leader away on April 10 1993. Limpho, Hani's widow, is opposing his killer Janusz Walus's bid to be released on parole.
OUT OF LINE Soldiers line the road outside Chris Hani's home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, as a police van prepares to take the body of the SACP leader away on April 10 1993. Limpho, Hani's widow, is opposing his killer Janusz Walus's bid to be released on parole.
Image: Herbert Mabuza / Times archives

The crime committed by Janusz Walus, the Polish immigrant who killed anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani, was unlike many others in SA in that it shook the very core of the society SA was trying to build at the time — a democratic and free society.

Hani’s widow Limpho Hani made this submission in her affidavit before the Constitutional Court, opposing the Walus’s bid to have the court look into his failed attempt to get parole in March last year.

In a lengthy affidavit, Walus detailed how, since his incarceration in October 1993, he was a reformed man who had tried numerous times to convey his apology to Hani’s widow and his children.

SA Communist Party spokesperson Alex Mashilo said the SACP and the Hani family had filed opposing papers against the convicted assassin’s application.

“We can confirm that the matter will be heard in February 2022, in terms of the directives of the ConCourt,” Mashilo said.

In her affidavit, on behalf of herself and the SACP, Hani said the motive for her husband’s murder was not just personal but carefully designed to thrust SA into a political catastrophe.

Hani said the high court in Pretoria correctly found last year that the decision of justice minister Ronald Lamola not to grant parole, was neither irrational nor unreasonable.

“The impugned decision did not constitute an error of law or evidence of executive bias,” Hani said.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s assassinator, James Earl Ray, spent the rest of his life in prison until he died in 1998.
Limpho Hani

Hani said the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1999 had refused Walus’s application for amnesty. She said the TRC did so because Walus failed to make a full disclosure and much-needed closure for his victims, nor did he provide reconciliation and justice to South Africans.

Hani said Walus was found to be unremorseful and dishonest by the TRC.

“It was a self-centred endeavour, directed only at escaping retribution for his crime,” she said.

She added the crime committed by Walus was heinous, in that it not only took the life of a father and husband, but also a man who, along with his comrades in the struggle, was an architect of, and negotiator for, SA’s constitutional democracy.

“As such, the crime was one that shook a nation that was crafting a new society, to its core,” she said.

Hani said Walus’s assassination of her husband was intended to be the first of many political assassinations.

“His name was third on a list that contained 16 others, earmarked for death because they espoused a political belief different from the applicant’s.”

Hani said it was not uncommon for other democracies around the world to continue imprisoning convicted people who commit political assassinations that have the potential to destabilise democracy and societal peace.

“For instance, in the US, Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s assassinator, James Earl Ray, spent the rest of his life in prison until he died in 1998.”

She said in Colombia, Miguel Maza Marquez was convicted of playing a part in the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, and was sentenced to a 30-year prison term in 2016. He remains in prison.

“We (the SACP and I) submit that to discourage political assassinations, culprits like the applicant must be removed from society permanently.

She said the refusal of parole did not constitute a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, as Walus had not been denied the possibility of parole.

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