Chris Hani killer Janusz Walus's bid for parole gets another lifeline

Members of the SACP at Janusz Walus's previous parole application in August last year. The Pretoria high court has referred back to the justice ministry a decision by former justice minister Michael Masutha denying Walus parole.
Members of the SACP at Janusz Walus's previous parole application in August last year. The Pretoria high court has referred back to the justice ministry a decision by former justice minister Michael Masutha denying Walus parole.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Janusz Walus, the murderer of SACP leader Chris Hani, will have to wait another 60 days for a decision on whether he will be granted parole.

On Thursday, the high court in Pretoria set aside a decision by former justice minister Michael Masutha in January, in which he refused to grant Walus parole.

But judge Jody Kollapen on Thursday referred the matter back to the justice ministry – and now new justice minister Ronald Lamola will have 60 days to make a decision regarding whether to place Walus on parole.

Kollapen passed this judgment in an application by Walus to review Masutha's decision.

Lawyers for Walus argued that when the application was heard in October, Masutha was subjective and biased in his decision.

His lawyer, Roelof du Plessis, said in his reasons denying Walus parole, Masutha did not reflect on aspects in the psychological reports presented to him that were in favour of Walus. Instead, Du Plessis argued, Masutha reflected only on aspects in the reports that were not favourable to Walus.

The minister of justice’s advocate, Marumo Moerane, argued that Masutha’s decision not to grant Walus parole was rational.

Moerane said the minister had taken into account reports showing commendable behaviour by Walus while incarcerated, the various programmes aimed at his rehabilitation and statements which were favourable to him contained in psychological reports and those compiled by social workers and correctional services officials.

“Notwithstanding these positive factors, the interest of the community not to be placed in danger of a person likely to reoffend was taken into account,” Moerane said when the matter was argued in October.


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