Karma will get you, Chris Hani’s widow tells Zondo
Chief justice orders release of Hani’s killer, Janusz Waluś, within 10 days
The widow of the late struggle icon Chris Hani lashed out on Monday at chief justice Raymond Zondo after the Constitutional Court freed Hani’s killer, Janusz Waluś.
Limpho Hani described the judgment as “diabolical”, adding Zondo had failed the country.
In a unanimous judgment, the Constitutional Court set aside the 2020 decision by justice & correctional services minister Ronald Lamola to refuse parole to Waluś.
Delivering his ruling, Zondo said “the minister’s decision was irrational, falls to be reviewed and must be set aside”.
He ordered Lamola to release Waluś within 10 days.
Among Lamola’s reasons for denying the parole application was that the trial court that had jailed him wanted to send a message that would clarify that assassinating political leaders is unacceptable.
Waluś, a Polish immigrant who killed the SACP leader and anti-apartheid activist in April 1993, has been serving a life sentence at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Facility.
Waluś asked the apex court to set aside the Supreme Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss his leave to appeal against a high court judgment that upheld the refusal of his parole by Lamola in March 2020.
Zondo said the court needed to take into account that he was involved in a serious crime that was meticulously planned. He said Waluś’s conduct and that of right-wing politician Clive Derby-Lewis almost plunged the country into civil unrest.
Zondo said it seemed that Waluś and Derby-Lewis had intended to delay democracy when they killed Hani. He highlighted that they had served the minimum required time behind bars before they could be considered for parole.
Waluś, who was convicted in October 1993, has been eligible to apply for parole for almost two decades.
He and Derby-Lewis were both sentenced to death but their sentences were later commuted to life imprisonment when SA abolished the death penalty.
Derby-Lewis, who had allegedly ordered the hit carried out by Waluś, was granted medical parole in 2015 and died the following year of cancer.
Waluś said it was of public importance to establish the reasons and grounds for his continued incarceration.
In his bid for freedom, he said: “If I do not succeed with this application, it appears I will be incarcerated forever, which is an unjust, inhumane and cruel punishment.”
Limpho Hani, who has steadfastly opposed Waluś’s release, was seething as she addressed the media after Zondo’s ruling, saying karma would deal with those who had let her husband’s killer free.
“This judgment is diabolical,” she said, adding that it was a miscarriage of justice and lent credence to claims that the judiciary is captured.
The ruling was also condemned by the SACP, with the party’s secretary-general, Solly Mapaila, charging that Waluś has not shown any remorse.
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