Janus Walus is rehabilitated - Lawyer

Roelof du Plessis SC tells court that parole process manipulated against his client

Chris Hani's killer is 'rehabilitated' and won't do it again - lawyer

7 August 2018

"The unrepentant murderer Janusz Walus must rot in jail", an SACP placard read in a packed North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, during the parole bid of the man jailed for the assassination of struggle icon Chris Hani.

Roelof du Plessis SC, who represented Walus, delivered his heads of arguments in court on Tuesday morning.

South African Communist Party members, who were clad in their red T-shirts and who wore caps, filled the seats in the courtroom. Hani's wife Limpho was also present.

Du Plessis argued that members of the parole board, including the chairperson, noted in October 2017 that Walus was a suitable candidate for parole.

Later in November 2017, an extensive report by the chairperson indicated that Walus should be refused parole, he added.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha said at the time that releasing a convicted murderer on parole was pointless as he "still harbours resentment".

"This is just one illustration of how this process is being manipulated to bring prejudice," Du Plessis said.

He read out a letter Walus wrote to the chairperson in the same month, stating that he had successfully completed anger management and life skills programmes.

Masutha said Walus had not shown enough remorse for killing the SACP leader in the driveway of his Boksburg home on April 10, 1993.

Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis, who supplied the weapon Walus used to kill Hani, was sentenced to death for the murder in October 1993, along with the Polish immigrant.

Their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in November 2000.

Walus applied for parole in 2013, but Masutha turned down his application in April 2015.

According to Du Plessis, another report from the people who had worked with Walus on a daily basis said: "The offender (Walus) has a positive relationship with his brother and family members and will contribute positively to the society".

Du Plessis said a 2017 correctional services progress report indicated that Walus was passionate about rehabilitation programmes and he had already completed several.

The report indicated that Walus was patient, treated people with humility and had a strong family support structure.

Regarding empathy, Masutha said the report stated that it could be said that Walus "expressed remorse for the fact that the victim's children are fatherless, and the wife is a widow, however, he showed no remorse for murdering Chris Hani, the communist leader".

Du Plessis added that the argument that Walus was "not sorry for killing a communist leader and when he comes out he will kill other communist leaders", was " ludicrous and ridiculous".

"He (Walus) showed remorse in all his affidavits. It is not factually correct. He has showed far more remorse now and in clearer terms, because of the rehabilitation programmes he underwent," Du Plessis said.

"He is 63 years old, he is rehabilitated, and he said he is not going to do it again."

He argued that "subjectively, the minister was biased".

Du Plessis submitted that the court must release Walus on parole with conditions.