COMMENT

Why Janusz Walus must remain in prison

Alex Mashilo writes Chris Hani's killer wants to be forgiven, even though he's never made a full disclosure

Unrepentant, unremorseful and unrehabilitated murderer Janusz Walus must remain in prison

14 July 2016

On Tuesday, 12 July the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) communicated its decision granting the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Advocate Michael Masutha leave to appeal against parole for Janusz Walus, the cold blooded murderer of Comrade Chris Hani. At the time of the assassination on 10 April 1993, Hani was the South African Communist Party (SACP) General Secretary and a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress (ANC).

He has served in various capacities in the joint SACP and ANC liberation army, uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), rising through its ranks. He became the MK’s last Chief of Staff. He was a prominent leader engaged in a programme for peace, justice, political liberation and social emancipation. He criss-crossed the country in the early 1990s ensuring the suspension of armed struggle, implementing a decision taken by the ANC as a contribution towards building a peaceful transition to democracy.   

Hani’s assassination drove South Africa to the brink of a civil war with catastrophic consequences.

Walus said that he hated communist leadership and that this was one of his driving motivations to murder Hani. This is one of the fundamental problems the SACP has with the North Gauteng High Court Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen’s order in March granting parole to the murderer. Walus’s own psychological report in prison during that period clearly stated that he had a healthy psychiatric record – but that his hatred for communist leadership – which is what he himself said motivated him to murder Hani – remained intact.

There can be no doubt that Walus is unrehabilitated, in addition to being unrepentant and unremorseful. He wants to be forgiven for murdering Hani not only without making a full disclosure of the truth surrounding the assassination, BUT ALSO WITHOUT FORGIVING COMMUNIST LEADERSHIP IN THE PERSONS OF THE SACP, ITS LEADERS AND MEMBERS FOR HAVING DONE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG TO HIM. Those who expressed support for Walus in this unreasonable expectation are similarly unreasonable. Reconciliation is not a one way street. The families and organisations of the victim of his crime must find closure. He must fully co-operate in ensuring this happens. Reconciliation is a two way process. It cannot be any form of justice for an unremorseful, unrepentant and unrehabilitated cold-blooded murderer to be forgiven WITHOUT BEING FORGIVING HIMSELF FOR NOTHING WRONG COMMITTED TO HIM BY HIS VICTIM, HIS FAMILY AND ORGANISATION!

The SACP will again join the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services in ensuring that justice serves its course. The Party’s legal team will support the Minister’s appeal at the SCA and make a representation on what it found to be serious legal difficulties and loopholes with Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen’s March decision granting parole to Walus. It is important to note that when the SACP constructively criticised her decision, some sections of society said the Party was wrong!

They were dead silent on Tuesday after the SCA contradicted her by agreeing that there were reasonable prospects of success to appeal against her decision and granted the leave to appeal. This was also a blow to those who suggest that citizens must not express their views if they see things differently from judicial decisions. Within the judiciary itself, as the SCA order granting leave to appeal demonstrates, interpretation of the law is not the same. There are different points of view. This is why higher courts do reverse decisions arrived as at by lower courts. It is also exactly why within higher courts there are descending minority judgements.

What is very important to stress in this regard is that the so-called independent constitutional law expects who supported Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen’s decision, with some of them further accusing the SACP of pushing for the appeal against her decision allegedly out of emotions rather than points of law, were also dead silent on Tuesday, until today. Some of them are lecturing in our universities – students must be careful of their political opinions and wishes presented as the only correct interpretation of law!

Alex Mashilo is SACP National Spokesperson and Head of Communications, he writes in his capacity as a professional revolutionary. 

This article first appeared in Umsebenzi Online, the online journal of the SACP.