Justice Minister Michael Masutha.
Cape Town - Justice Minister Michael Masutha said Friday's Supreme Court of Appeal ruling on Chris Hani's killer, Janusz Walus, affirmed that victims should have a crucial say in parole decisions.

"I believe that victims should no longer be at periphery of parole decisions, but back at the centre of it," Masutha told the African News Agency (ANA) via telephone.

Masutha appealed a North Gauteng High Court decision last year setting aside his refusal to grant Walus parole. He argued that a victim impact assessment had never been included in the documents presented to him by the parole board.

"No parole application should be considered without reaching out to the victims concerned and affording them the opportunity to have their say," he said.

The minister was quick to point out that the victim impact assessment alone would not determine whether Walus is granted parole.

"We don't confine ourselves to that issue, but we look at all aspects when we review a profile," said Masutha.

Walus' behaviour in prison, psychologists reports, and a security risk assessment, among others, would also be submitted as part of Walus' parole profile.

"Depending on the circumstances of the case, if the person is convicted of a violent crime, for example, we would look at whether this person has responded positively to our programmes that are aimed at addressing criminal behaviour."

Walus was sentenced to death for the murder of Hani in the driveway of his Boksburg, Gauteng, home on April 10, 1993. His sentence was commuted to life after the abolition of the death penalty.

Last year, the Home Affairs department said if Walus is released on parole he would be stripped of his South African citizenship and deported back to Poland.

Walus' co-conspirator, Clive Derby-Lewis, who instigated the assassination and provided the gun used in the shooting, was released on bail in 2015. He died of cancer last year.

Hani's widow, Limpho, and the South African Communist Party are strongly opposed to Walus's release, insisting he had not been truthful about the assassination plot.

African News Agency