/ 7 December 2022

Janusz Walus released on parole

Janusz Walus At The Trc
Despite no longer being a South African citizen, Janusz Walus will serve his parole term in the country, the ministry of home affairs said on Monday.

Janusz Walus was released from prison on Wednesday to begin serving two years of parole after recovering from being stabbed by a fellow inmate, , the department of justice and correctional services.

“Offender Walus was only discharged from hospital today as he had been receiving treatment after he was involved in a stabbing incident,” the department said.

“He will serve two years under community corrections in line with the parole regime, upon

when he is released.”

Walus has served close to 30 years in prison for the pre-meditated murder of South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani. 

He was stabbed a week after the constitutional court ruled that Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s refusal two years ago to grant him parole was irrational and unconstitutional.

The court ordered that he be released within 10 calendar days, but this was delayed to ensure he had recovered from the stabbing.

The department’s statement referred to the emotional outcry that followed the court ruling that Walus be granted parole.

“There is no question that offender Walus is a polarising figure in our budding  constitutional democracy, and that his release has understandably re-opened

wounds among some in society, especially the family of the late struggle icon Chris Hani.”

It also reiterated that the minister’s overturned decision to deny him parole was not informed by a desire to avenge a struggle icon, but to recognise the severity of the crime, as stressed by the court that sentenced Walus to death.

Before court, Lamola had argued that releasing Walus would negate the severity of the sanction the sentencing court sought to impose. Walus’s initial death sentence was converted to life in prison after capital punishment in South Africa was ruled unconstitutional. 

He first became eligible for parole in 2005 and was denied four times before the constitutional court substituted Lamola’s decision with its own.

Delivering the judgement he wrote, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo said that in his view, the remarks of the trial court as to the severity of the crime were relevant to the sentence imposed but were not so in the context of considering whether to grant parole. He also stressed that these were facts that would never alter.

Zondo said that if the minister, who claimed that release at a later date was not excluded, were to grant it, he would be faced with the following question: “Why is it that he did not release him in 2020 on the same facts?”