Limfo Hani; wife of murdered apartheid activist Chris Hani.
Rooster Images / Beeld / Herman Verwey
- The Constitutional Court ruled on Monday that Chris Hani’s killer be released on parole.
- Janusz Walus shot dead the SACP leader almost 30 years ago.
- Hani’s wife, Limpho, stormed out of court after the ruling, calling it “diabolical”.
Limpho Hani, the wife of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, who was shot dead nearly 30 years ago, criticized Chief Justice Raymond Zondo following his Constitutional Court ruling to release the killer from his husband on parole.
In his ruling on Monday afternoon, Zondo ordered Janusz Walus’ conditional release within 10 days.
Zondo said Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola’s decision to deny Walus’ parole was irrational and therefore should be reviewed and overturned.
Zondo said the onus now fell on Lamola to set the conditions upon release on parole.
He added that more than 15 years had passed since Walus became eligible for parole.
He said Walus had apologized to the family on several occasions.
Lamola was ordered to pay the costs of Walus.
The ruling has left the Hani family furious, with an angry Limpho walking out of court after the verdict.
“This court hasn’t even addressed the victims. I don’t exist. It’s busy lecturing us about a Polish man who came to SA to kill my husband. Do you understand how I feel?” Limfo asked.
“President of the Supreme Court [Raymond] Zondo has completely failed this country, and I am not going to apologize. This country is finished. In this country, a white foreigner can enter South Africa and kill my husband. The [Zondo] couldn’t give a shit. He couldn’t be bothered,” she said.
Limpho described the trial as “diabolical”.
“I have never seen anything like this in my life. If my husband had not been assassinated, we would never have had an election. Mandela, after my husband was assassinated, told [FW] de Klerk to stop this, give us a date for the elections. That is why Zondo and his friends are sitting in this court today.”
Mourners at Chris Hani’s funeral in Soweto in 1993.
The Polish immigrant is serving a life sentence at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Center for the murder of the anti-apartheid activist in 1993.
Walus, who became eligible for parole nearly 17 years ago after serving 13 years and four months of his life sentence, had been applying for parole since 2011, and had been denied parole each time. .
He was initially sentenced to death for Hani’s murder, but his death sentence was commuted to life behind bars.
Zondo said at his sentencing that Walus had kept a clean record while serving more than 25 years of his life sentence and had also complied with all the requirements that prison authorities had told him to meet.
“In the circumstances, I am of the opinion that it is fair and equitable for this court to order the minister to release the applicant on probation.”
In making its decision, Zondo said the court took into account the fact that by assassinating Hani, Walus tried to derail the achievement of democracy and nearly plunged the country into civil war.
“However, I have also kept in mind that when the fathers and mothers of our constitutional democracy wrote our Constitution and included in it the Bill of Rights, they did not write a Bill of Rights that conferred fundamental rights only on those who fought for democracy and not those who had supported apartheid or opposed the introduction of democracy in this country.
“They wrote a Bill of Rights that conferred fundamental rights on everyone, including those who had wholeheartedly supported apartheid.”