Pretoria - Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus has turned to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, once again in his bid to be placed on parole and then deported to Poland. He has served more than 24 years since starting his sentence in the Pretoria prison, now known as the Kgosi Mampuru II Prison, following the 1993 assassination of Hani.
The court last year decided to grant Walus parole, but Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha took the matter on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. It was referred back to Masutha.
In November the minister once again turned down Walus’s application to be placed on parole.
Walus, in papers filed with the high court, will ask for an order that the minister’s refusal be set aside, alternatively that the court order his release, subject to him being deported to Poland.
While Walus brought the application on a urgent basis, he acknowledged that it was not that urgent that it had to be heard immediately. The parties will ask Deputy Judge President Aubrey Ledwaba for directions as to when it will be placed on the roll.
It is expected that the matter will only be heard around June this year.
“It is obvious that I have have done everything in my power to rehabilitate, to conduct myself in such a manner as to comply with the prison rules and I have shown remorse,” Walus said in papers filed.
He also asked the court to consider him as an ordinary prisoner, who has been serving a sentence for an ordinary crime, requesting that his case not be seen in a political context.
However, he did state that Hani was killed in circumstances where he was “fighting as a foot soldier to uphold the apartheid state. This fact, should, however, not be held against me and be used against me, especially where I was not granted amnesty for the crimes that I am currently serving a (life) sentence for”.
Walus’s co-accused at the time, Clive Derby-Lewis, was granted medical parole in 2015 following an extensive legal battle. He has since died.
“It appears that I have been singled out to be treated differently by the minister, because I am Janusz Walus. This has resulted in my situation being regarded as a political issue I should be treated the same as any ordinary prisoner.”
He complained that he may also have been discriminated against by the minister on the basis of his ethnic and social origin, his conscience and belief. “I have not been treated equally before the law,” he said.
Walus has had several parole hearings in the past, where the Parole Board forwarded its recommendation to place him on parole before the previous, as well as the current minister.
But, time and again, he was turned down for various reasons, including that he had not shown remorse for his actions.
Walus said that time and again he had asked Hani’s family for forgiveness, but it was clear that they were not willing to accept or give it. Nothing he said or did would change this, Walus said.
According to Walus, he should have been entitled to parole after serving 12 years and four months, if one took the law under which he was sentenced at the time into account, and the number of prison credits he had accumulated over the years.
His lawyer, Julian Knight, said it was ironic that killers who have committed the most horrendous murders, some racially inspired, had been released on parole.