Janusz Walus loses bid for freedom

2016-04-26 11:40
MK veterans outside the Western Cape High Court protesting against Janusz Walus's parole bid. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

MK veterans outside the Western Cape High Court protesting against Janusz Walus's parole bid. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Pretoria - Janusz Walus, the Polish immigrant who murdered SACP leader Chris Hani 23 years ago, has lost his application for his immediate release on parole.

Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed Walus' application for his immediate release while appeal proceedings against a March 10 ruling that he must be released on parole within 14 days was pending.

Walus and former Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis, who supplied the weapon Walus used to shoot Hani to death in the driveway of his Benoni home in 1993, were sentenced to death for the murder in October 1993.

Their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in November 2000.

Walus applied for parole in 2013, but Justice Minister Michael Masutha turned down his application in April last year.

He then launched a review application and Judge Van Nieuwenhuizen on March 10 set aside the Minister's decision and order and ordered that he must be released within 14 days.

Earlier this month, she also dismissed the Minister's application for leave to appeal against her ruling. The Minister has applied to the Supreme Court of Appeal for leave to appeal against the ruling.

Walus thereafter applied for an order to enforce the order for his release, claiming there were exceptional circumstances to justify his immediate release.

These included his apology to the Hani family and the people of South Africa, his "positive profile" for release and the inordinate delay between his application for parole and the Minister's decision.

He maintained he had become eligible for parole eight years ago.

‘Political pressure’

Walus' advocate argued that it appeared from a torrent of political comments that political pressure was being exerted on the Minister to keep him incarcerated for as long as possible.

Advocate Gcina Malindi SC submitted on behalf of the SACP and the Hani family that Hani's murder remained an exceptional crime because it was an assassination of a prominent leader that was committed on the eve of our democracy and could have resulted in civil war.

He argued that Walus' remorse was not sincere and that his release would undermine nation building and reconciliation.

He argued that Walus had no chance or rehabilitation because of his hatred for communism and communist leaders have not changed.

The Minister denied any suggestion of political pressure and said the right to liberty could be limited on just cause in terms of the Constitution.

Judge Van Nieuwenhuizen found that Walus had not established exceptional circumstances to justify an enforcement order.

She said the suspension of orders was a feature associated with most matters in which orders have been granted and the suspension of the release order pending appeal was an inevitable consequence of an appeal process.

Read more on:    chris hani  |  janusz walus  |  pretoria

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