Minister given 60 days to reconsider parole for Janusz Walus
Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola has been given 60 days to reconsider parole for Walus.
Judge Jody Kollapen in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, overturned former minister advocate Michael Masutha’s refusal to grant parole to the 64-year-old immigrant.
The judge, however, put the decision in Lamola's hands as he felt it was not the place of the court to decide on parole.
“Parole decisions are notoriously difficult in reconciling different interests and imperatives” the judge said.
He also commented that Walus was serving a life sentence and while he is eligible for consideration for release on parole, a life sentence does not create an automatic entitlement to release after a designated period of incarceration.
The judge said based on the information which was served before Masutha, it could not be said the refusal of parole was justified. He, however, also said it could not be found Masutha was biased or incompetent on how he dealt with the matter.
Masutha said in January that having considered the various reports of psychologists and apparent contradictions arising in it, it was difficult for him to decide on the suitability of parole. Howeer, he denied parole at the time.
But Judge Kollapen said a joint report was not likely to produce anything other than what their reports already contained.
All the reports submitted by the experts were in agreement that Walus represented a low risk of re-offending.
Judge Kollapen said all of the experts were in agreement that Walus has shown empathy and remorse for the killing of Hani.
He said the then minister’s refusal of parole on the basis of “conflicting reports” could not be said to be rational when regard was given to the totality of the information that he had.
SACP national chairperson Senzeni Zokwana said the party was not disappointed by the judgment.
“It gives us time to, within the 60-day period, make representations to the minister. We demand a full disclosure of the planning and who was involved, before we can make any decision. This is a very serious matter,” he said.
Walus has spent 27 years behind bars at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria.