Durban — To mark the assassination of Chris Hani 29 years ago, the SACP KZN and Cosatu staged a protest to demand that Janusz Walus not be paroled.
The angry protesters gathered outside the Durban Regional Court on Monday, sang liberation songs and danced, despite the pouring rain.
Speaking to Daily News, KZN SACP provincial deputy secretary Bheki Shandu said Walus’s release was an insult to the black masses, and mostly to Hani’s wife, Limpho, and her family.
“As the Communist Party in SA, we believe the spirit of Comrade Chris, our former general secretary, lives in us. We say Walus did not just kill an ordinary person in Hani, but a leader who was the hope and liberation of this country.”
He said Walus’s deed 29 years ago showed “very well” that he wanted to plunge the country into a civil war because he knew that Hani was the leader of the masses and therefore wanted to anger them.
He said they would continue the struggle against all those who were part of Hani’s assassination.
“We are today gathered here on a mass programme we embarked on immediately after the order for Hani’s murderer to be released on parole. It is our considered view that the order is insensitive towards the people of this country – particularly the poorest of the poor, who Comrade Hani dedicated all his life to their emancipation and justice.”
“We say ‘no’ to his parole. Instead, we want him to rot and die in prison.
“There is no way we can talk about forgiveness when he (Walus) has not even apologised, not told us who was actually behind Hani’s murder – because we know he was only the trigger man.”
“We feel this was a miscarriage of the justice system which we hope for as a democratic society. Therefore, the criminal justice system is not responsive to the challenges of society. Hani was against corruption, the abuse of the masses and the abuse of the country’s resources. Hani stood for the redistribution of the country’s wealth. We believe South Africa would today be better off had Hani been still alive.”
Shandu called for a review of the criminal justice system in relation to parole, saying it is a system that protects criminals who after raping and killing innocent people, get parole, and then rape and kill again.
Cosatu’s KZN provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize decried the judicial system, saying it was not for the poor and marginalised South Africans.
“Our police are very quick to respond, our judiciary is very quick to respond when it’s us as workers fighting for our rights in their defence of capitalism. It cannot be correct that they are giving Walus parole without him coming out openly and telling us what happened, why did he kill Hani?” Mkhize fumed.
Former Young Communist League deputy national secretary Isaac Luthuli said, “The news that this man (Walus) must be released on parole did not sit well with us.”
During the Mbeki era, they requested a referendum to ask who killed Chris Hani, he said.
“We indeed got the signatures in terms of numbers to open the Chris Hani inquest. We continued asking who killed Chris Hani, but no one gave us answers. Therefore no one must now (try to) fool us. We demand that this man must rot in jail unless he tells us who killed Comrade Chris. We demand that a Hani inquest must be opened. What we care about is that the truth must come out,” Luthuli said.
Justice and Constitutional Development Department spokesperson Crispin Phiri said the concerns around the parole system were well-founded and hence the minister, in June, initiated a process for it to be reviewed by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.