File picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA).
File picture: Bongani Shilulbane/African News Agency (ANA).

Court hears Masutha was biased, relied on negative aspects to deny Walus parole

By Brenda Masilela Time of article published Oct 7, 2019

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PRETORIA - A legal representative for Janusz Walus, the man who killed SA Communist Party leader Chris Hani more than two decades ago, told the High Court in Pretoria that former Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha was subjective and biased in his decision not to grant the killer parole.

On Monday, Advocate Roelof Du Plessis argued that Masutha's reasons in denying Walus parole did not reflect on positive aspects in the psychological reports presented to him. He said Masutha concentrated on negative aspects that were not favourable to Walus.

Walus is seeking the court's intervention in his bid to be released on parole from the Kgosi Mampuru II maximum facility and deported back to his place of birth in Poland.

This followed Masutha’s decision to turn down Walus’ second bid at parole on January 16 this year.

Du Plessis said the reports prepared by psychologists Joel Mbele and Zelda Buitendag both concluded that Walus's risk of offending again was low.

Du Plessis  said Masutha had also concluded that Walus had not shown remorse, despite the reports showing the contrary.

Previously, Walus said he had 19 sessions with the experts to prepare him for his release.

"He acknowledges full responsibility of the crime he committed and has shown remorse to the family. He accepts that he made a bad choice...They believe that if released Walus will go looking for a gun and shoot communists," said Du Plessis.

This will be the fourth time a court will have to decide on whether or not Walus should be released on parole and the third time that the high court will deal with the issue. The Supreme Court of Appeal has dealt with it once.

On each occasion the refusal of parole was referred back for reconsideration to Masutha, who felt that Walus was not yet ready to face the outside world, although his reasons for this decision were deferred.

Du Plessis asked the court to take a decision on the matter, instead of sending the matter back to new Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola for reconsideration.

Masutha's counsel, Advocate Marumo Moerane told the court that the decision not to grant Walus parole was rationally informed by the psychologists reports presented to the minister.

Moerane said Masutha 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.

"The minister's concern about Walus' lack of remorse was justifiable...If one does not have remorse, the risk of re-offending is enhanced," Moerane argued.

Judgment has been reserved.

African News Agency (ANA)

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