Chris Hani’s killer Janusz Walus in new bid for freedom
Pretoria - Chris Hani’s assassin Janusz Walus is to launch a new attempt in November to be released on parole.
Walus will ask the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, to order his release and that he serve his parole time in Poland.
If the court was not willing to do this, it should refer the matter back to Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola for reconsideration.
Judge Jody Kollapen gave the minister 60 days last December to reconsider parole. Lamola denied this in March.
In justifying his refusal, the minister said: “It is clear that the political assassination of the late Hani was executed with the intention to create chaos and mayhem in the country. The record before me clearly reveals that the (trial) court took this fact into consideration when sentencing Walus to death.”
The minister, in his opposing papers to this latest application, is still insisting that Walus remain behind bars for the 1993 killing. He referred to the harsh words the court had when it sentenced Walus to death at the time. The sentence was later commuted to a life sentence when the death sentence was abolished.
In referring to the trial court’s comments about the veracity of the assassination, Lamola said at the time: “Placing offender Walus on parole would negate the severity that the court sought when sentencing him. With this premise, and balancing both negative and positive factors, the placement on parole for offender Walus is not approved at this stage.”
In his latest application, Walus said in papers filed at court that the minister seeks to place reliance upon the sentence remarks and the nature of the crime made by the trial judge 27 years ago.
“I will never be eligible for day parole or parole as the sentence remarks and nature of the crime will never change
“The decision to place reliance upon the sentence remarks to the exclusion of positive factors in favour of my release, ignoring my rehabilitation, constitutes bias and unfair discrimination, especially in light of other prisoners with similar sentence remarks who have been released on parole,” Walus said.
The reasons advanced by the minister in refusing him parole while he had qualified for it a long time ago in law showed bias against him, he said.
“The decision of the minister is clearly discriminatory in nature, without any justification and it constitutes unfair discrimination in accordance with provisions of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.
“I cannot overemphasise that every time a new profile is sought on me, the minister, as well as his predecessors, seek to attempt to unearth new reasons not to grant me parole despite the facts staying the same. This, I submit, is neither rational nor reasonable,” Walus said.
In overturning former minister Michael Masutha’s refusal last December to grant parole to the 65-year-old Pole, Judge Kollapen at the time said it was not the place of the court to decide on parole, but that of the new minister - now Lamola.
The latter has said he accepted that Walus had remorse and that the prospects of him reoffending were low. His decision to refuse parole was thus not because Walus posed a security threat should he be released on parole.
Lamola also said he took all the positives in favour of Walus into account, such as that he had completed several courses in jail aimed at his rehabilitation. But the comments made by the trial judge 27 years ago overshadowed all this, as it has been a cold-blooded murder of a prominent political leader.
Lamola added that there had never been any extenuating circumstances found in the murder case. These were all facts which had to be taken into account when parole is considered, he said.
The Hani family will file their answering papers today.