Janusz Walus, Chris Hani's killer. Picture: ORYNX MEDIA ARCHIVES / GALLO IMAGES
Janusz Walus, Chris Hani's killer. Picture: ORYNX MEDIA ARCHIVES / GALLO IMAGES

Janusz Walus, who was found guilty of killing then SACP leader and struggle icon Chris Hani, has had his application for parole turned down again by the government.

Walus and late right-wing politician Clive Derby-Lewis were sentenced to death for Hani's murder outside his home in Boksburg on April 10 1993. Their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment.

Derby-Lewis was released from prison in 2015 after serving 20 years of his life sentence. He was granted medical parole after being diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on November 3 2016.

In November 2017, the justice minister at the time, Michael Masutha, denied Walus parole because, among other reasons, a psychologist's report showed that the killer saw nothing wrong with “eliminating a communist who happened to be a father and husband”.

However, Walus challenged the minister's decision in the high court in Pretoria. In September 2018, the high court set aside Masutha’s decision saying the minister must take into account all relevant information.

In January 2019, Masutha again denied him parole.​ In December the high court ordered Lamola to reconsider the decision taken by Masutha to refuse the granting of parole to Walus, within 60 days.

On Monday, justice minister Ronald Lamola said in denying Walus’s application for parole, he had considered the negative factors such as the “nature and seriousness of the crime of the cold-blooded political assassination committed by offender Walus and the fact that the [trial] court sought to impose the severest punishment that the law permits”.

In imposing the death sentence, the trial court stated that it wished “to send out the message loud and clear to any who contemplate assassination of political leaders as an acceptable option, what view the court takes of such conduct”.

“The record before me clearly reveals that the court took this fact into consideration when sentencing Walus to death. The crime was intended and had the potential to bring about a civil war within the Republic at the time,” Lamola said.

“It must also be noted that Walus was convicted of murder with no extenuating circumstances having been found to be present.

"I have also taken note of the legal regime applicable based on the date on which Walus committed the crime. This implies that should it be my decision to approve his placement on parole, he would be on parole for a maximum period of three years, less any possible remissions for which he might qualify,” added Lamola.

“Considering this fact, 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.”

phakathib@businesslive.co.za