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Walus likely to lose his SA citizenship

In this 1997 photo Janusz Walus is sworn in during a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission hearing. File picture: Cobus Bodenstein

In this 1997 photo Janusz Walus is sworn in during a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission hearing. File picture: Cobus Bodenstein

Published Aug 24, 2016

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Johannesburg - Convicted killer Janusz Walus is on the way to losing his South African citizenship, so if he's paroled he won't see much of South Africa.

On Tuesday, the Department of Home Affairs confirmed that officials have written to Walus warning him that his citizenship and permanent residency permit were in the process of being revoked.

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Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said the matter was not finalised, as the department was waiting for the end of the legal process around Walus's bid for parole.

Walus, who is Polish but obtained South African citizenship years ago, was convicted of murdering SACP leader Chris Hani in 1993 and is serving a life sentence. His requests for parole were repeatedly refused, until the high court in Pretoria ordered his release on parole.

The Ministry of Justice and Correctional Services was refused leave to appeal by the high court but is now taking it directly to the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

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"He is still in custody and we were granted leave to appeal to the SCA after petitioning," said ministry spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga on Tuesday.

The Home Affairs letter to Walus warns him to make representations to the authorities if he wants to oppose the loss of his South African status.

The letter said the law allows the minister of home affairs to strip any naturalised citizen of their South African citizenship if they have been sentenced in any country to at least a year in jail, or if it's in the public interest.

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"You have been found to be serving a capital sentence where you were convicted for a schedule 1 offence in 1993," said the letter.

If the matter is finalised, Walus would "be deemed to be an illegal foreigner without approved status within the Republic of South Africa and you will be obliged to leave", said the letter.

Tshwete said Walus had previously written to Home Affairs asking for his South African citizenship to be removed, presumably so that he can be deported to Poland.

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Walus's lawyer, Julian Knight, wasn't available for comment on Tuesday.

Tshwete said the department had removed citizenship from other naturalised South Africans who'd been convicted of crimes, but didn't immediately have numbers of these available.

Italian Mafioso Vito Palazzolo, who got South African citizenship by getting into the former Ciskei homeland in the 1980s and changing his name to Robert von Palace Kolbatschenko, is now in jail in Italy.

"His citizenship was rescinded," said Tshwete, saying this was done after Palazzolo was jailed in Italy.

Czech fugitive and local crime boss Radovan Krejcir, convicted of some crimes and still on trial for others, is next on the list.

Tshwete said Krejcir was a permanent resident but he acquired this status under dubious circumstances, so once the criminal proceedings were finished, the department would make a decision on his status, "which is most likely to be a removal of his permanent residency".

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