‘Political interference’ sank previous parole bids‚ claims lawyer for Walus

Questions raised around unfair political interference in their Walus's parole applications.
Questions raised around unfair political interference in their Walus's parole applications.
Image: Alaister Russell

Lawyers for Janusz Walus - the killer of former South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani - have raised questions around unfair political interference in their client’s parole applications.

Walus‚ with the assistance of former Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis‚ shot and killed Hani in 1993 in the driveway of his home in Boksburg‚ east of Johannesburg.

Walus launched his third application for parole on Tuesday in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Advocate Roelof du Plessis revealed how certain documents and parole board reports were ignored by Justice Minister Michael Masutha in Walus’s previous parole applications. “One needs to look at what was before the minister and what he did and did not look at‚” he said.

He said in August 2017 the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered that Masutha had to reconsider parole for Walus. Masutha denied Walus parole in November 2017.

“Documents from the parole board showed Walus was a suitable candidate for parole‚” du Plessis told the court. “Everyone on the board said he was suitable for parole. But what happened? The chairman of the board wrote an extensive report saying why Walus should be refused parole.”

Du Plessis said evidence of Walus’s application having been manipulated to ensure he was not granted parole included a letter the chairman of the board wrote to his client requesting him to provide evidence of a course he had completed in prison.

“This included requests on anger management‚” he said. “The request letter was sent on 6 November 2017‚ yet the chairman had written his report saying why Walus should not be granted parole on 3 November 2017.”

He said prison case managers for Walus had written that he was the epitome of correctional behaviour and the effects of rehabilitation. “They found he should be given a second chance and reintegrated back into society‚ with his risk of reoffending low.

“None of this was referenced in the reports by the minister or the parole board chairman. Instead they elevated two other minor points raised by Walus’s social worker‚ without questioning her over them‚ took them out of context and used these to deny him parole.”

Du Plessis said the issues that were raised by the social worker were life skills and anger management‚ “which were addressed by Walus being placed on courses‚ which he completed.”

Du Plessis continued: “The minister and parole board chairman never took into account that he had completed these courses‚ which was wrong.

“Walus has shown remorse for what he did - killing Hani the husband and father and Hani the communist - yet the minister argues that if you don’t change your views on communism‚ you will go out again and kill communists‚ which is ridiculous.

“Walus has been rehabilitated and there is no evidence to show otherwise. What is happening by denying him parole is unfair and unjust.”

Proceedings are continuing.