/ 14 April 2016

Cosatu wants Walus parole to be fought in the Constitutional Court

Chris Hani's legacy could help expand the possibilities for reconciliation in South Africa.
Chris Hani's legacy could help expand the possibilities for reconciliation in South Africa.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Thursday called on the state to approach the Constitutional Court after the Pretoria High Court dismissed the application for leave to appeal the release of assassin Janusz Walus, who murdered anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani in 1993.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Michael Masutha had applied for leave to appeal an earlier high court ruling ordering the state to release Walus on parole.

“We call on the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Michael Masutha to petition the Constitutional Court on this matter,” said Cosatu spokesperson, Sizwe Pamla.

Hani was shot and killed by Walus on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1993. The Polish immigrant was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in October 1993, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment.

“This cold blooded killer of Comrade Hani and his handlers robbed the Hani family of a loving father, the movement of its revolutionary leader and nearly plunged the nation to a quandary of a civil war,” said Pamla.

“His mercenary and counter-revolutionary actions were intended to prolong the dark era of political violence and derail the processes that led to our democratic breakthrough.”

Earlier on Thursday, Judge Nicolene Janse van Nieuwenhuizen dismissed, with costs, Masutha’s application for leave to appeal the high court judgment last month, which ordered that Walus be released on parole within 14 days.

“I make the following order: the first respondent’s [Masutha] application for leave to appeal is dismissed,” Janse van Nieuwenhuizen told a packed court.

The judge said she turned down the minister’s request for leave to appeal because the matter had “no prospects” of succeeding.

“The first respondent is ordered to pay the costs of the application, which include the costs of two counsels.”

Pamla said Cosatu was “not surprised” by the judgment, and called for the transformation of the country’s judicial system. He further urged South Africans to support the quest for justice for the slain SA Communist Party (SACP) leader.

“The federation takes solace from the fact that the legacy of this working class hero and a passionate defender of the working class is alive and well. We also call on all progressives to support the campaign for justice for the Hani family and the people of South Africa. The killer of Comrade Chris Hani should rot in jail,” said Pamla.

Walus’ application to be released on parole was initially turned down by Masutha, after which the convicted murderer sought the intervention of the high court, which ruled in his favour and prompting Masutha to apply for leave to appeal.

Walus’ erstwhile co-accused Clive Derby-Lewis, who was also given a life sentence, was released on medical parole last year. – African News Agency (ANA)