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Minister ordered to reconsider parole for Hani's killer

Publish date: 10 September 2018
Issue Number: 790
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

The Gauteng High Court has ordered Justice Minister Michael Masutha to reconsider his refusal to grant Chris Hani's killer Janusz Walus parole. Judge Selby Baqwa has given the Minister 120 days to do so, further ordering him to take into account all the relevant information placed before him, IoL reports. Walus is allowed to give his input regarding his parole application and the South African Communist Party and Hani's widow, Limpo, will be able to answer to his submissions. Walus, who has spent 25 years of his life sentence for the April 1993 killing in prison, asked the court to review and set aside Masutha's refusal to place him on parole. In 2015, Baqwa granted medical parole to Clive Derby-Lewis, who executed the murder of Hani together with Walus. At the time, he said he believed Derby-Lewis had shown remorse. This is Walus' third attempt to be placed on parole. He received a positive recommendation from the Parole Board seven years ago, but his parole was turned down by the Minister in 2013. In 2015, the Minister ruled that the placement was not recommended and said Walus had to meanwhile personally apologise to the Hani family and that a security assessment be carried out to establish whether he still posed a security threat. In 2016, Masutha again turned down his parole application. The Supreme Court of Appeal subsequently ruled that the Minister had to reconsider his refusal. Masutha yet again ruled against Walus on the grounds that he had not shown sufficient remorse.

Full IoL report

In addition, Baqwa granted an order setting aside a December 2016 decision to deport Walus as invalid and illegal as well as the warrant of detention and removal issued to Walus as invalid, notes a report in The Citizen. The Minister, SACP, and Hani’s widow opposed Walus’ application, arguing that the Minister’s doubts about the sincerity of Walus’ remorse was reasonable, as he still distanced himself from Hani’s murder by describing himself as a mere foot soldier and denying knowledge of any conspiracy to assassinate Hani. The respondents maintained Walus clearly still harboured the same views about communism and had not been rehabilitated as he claimed. Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba launched a counter-application for the court to set aside a decision by the Director-General of his department to deport Walus after the DG admitted that the notice was based on an erroneous understanding of the law. Baqwa said it was quite obvious from the evidence of the Home Affairs DG that the decision to deport Walus was taken without inviting the necessary representations from relevant parties and was therefore procedurally unfair and went against the rules of natural justice. He found that the deportation was contrary to the rule of law and legality as well as failing the requirements of rationality postulated in the Constitution.

Full report in The Citizen