Pretoria - How many times more must Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus express his remorse for the killing and must he first become pro-communist before he is granted parole?
This was some of the questions posed by the Polish emigrant’s advocate, Roelof du Plessis, during yet another legal bid for Walus, 63, to be placed on parole.
Walus, who has spent 25 years of his life sentence for the April 1993 killing in the Kgosi Mampuru Prison, is asking the Gauteng High Court Pretoria, to review and set aside Justice Minister Michael Masutha’s refusal to place him on parole.
Walus said if he is released, he wanted to go back to Poland to be reunited with his family.
His fate now lies in the hands of Judge Selby Baqwa, the same judge who in 2015 granted medical parole to Clive Derby-Lewis, who executed the murder of Hani together with Walus.
The judge at the time said he believed the 79-year-old Derby-Lewis had shown remorse for the murder.
Emotions meanwhile ran high in court from mostly SACP members, who often loudly voiced their displeasure at the arguments advanced on behalf of Walus. SACP deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila sat next to Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani and the two were engaged in deep conversations before the start of the proceedings.
Du Plessis asked Judge Baqwa to himself order that Walus be placed on parole and deported to Poland, rather than referring the matter back to the minister for reconsideration. “We ask you to make the decision in light of all the problems in the past. We cannot have the ball kicked back and forth all the time. Somewhere someone must make a decision. We say you are in the best position to do so,” Du Plessis said.
This is Walus’ third attempt to be placed on parole. He received a positive recommendation from the Parole Board seven years ago, but his parole was turned down by the minister in 2013.
In 2015 the minister reviewed another application for parole but he ruled that the placement was not recommended at that stage. He, at that stage, said Walus had to meanwhile personally apologise to the Hani family and that a security assessment had to be done on him to establish whether he still posed a security threat to the country.
In 2016 Minister Masutha once again turned down his parole application. The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein subsequently ruled that the minister had to reconsider his refusal. Masutha yet again ruled against Walus on the grounds that he had not shown sufficient remorse.
He based this decision on a report from a psychologist, who remarked that in his view Walus had expressed his remorse for the loss of the Hani family, but he did not show any remorse for killing “Chris Hani the communist”.
Du Plessis said this was bitterly unfair and not correct, as Walus had over and over, expressed his remorse for what he had done.
Du Plessis said Masutha and his department tried to find new reasons every time not to grant him parole.
Arguments on behalf of the minister, correctional services and Hani’s widow is expected to be heard on Tuesday afternoon.