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Home Affairs confirms Chris Hani's killer is a South African citizen

The Home Affairs Department's Mayihlome Tshwete says Walus is now a naturalised South African.

FILE: Janusz Walus at a hearing in the Pretoria City Hall on 11 August 1997. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Home Affairs Department has clarified the citizenship status of Chris Hani's killer, Janusz Walus, saying he is officially a naturalised South African citizen after moving here in 1981.

Yesterday, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Walus must be released on parole after serving 22 years of a life sentence for shooting Hani dead in 1993.

The person who arranged the killing, Clive Derby-Lewis, has already been granted parole.

The department's Mayihlome Tshwete says Walus is now a naturalised South African.

"He was naturalised as far back as 1987 and before that he was a permanent resident for five years."

Ray Hartley has written extensively about the period of negotiations towards democracy.

He says Janus should remain behind bars.

"If you think of the gravity of this particular crime, I don't think it gets any graver. In a country that has given up the death penalty, the only option we have is a life sentence, but it turns out that there is no such thing really."

The South African Communist Party (SACP) has said it will try to appeal this decision.

HOME AFFAIRS TO KEEP AN EYE ON WALUS

Tshwete says they're watching the situation closely.

"The department will make sure the announcements on his status."

Meanwhile, Hartlet says it's wrong to release Walus.

"If the judge had convicted and sentences Walus to 22 years in jail there would have been outcry because of the scale and nature of this crime. That is bad for the criminal justice system."

The SACP says Walus should never be released and that it is going to try and appeal this decision.

JUSTICE DEPT TO DECIDE ON APPEALING RELEASE OF CHRIS HANI'S KILLER

The Justice Department said it will use the next two weeks to decide if it will appeal a court decision to free Hani's killer on parole.

Walus' application for parole was set aside by Minister Michael Masutha earlier this year, but that decision was overturned yesterday.

The department said if the appeal went ahead, it may affect whether Walus is allowed to begin his parole.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress (ANC) argued it believed it would not be in the best interest for Hani's killer to live and be a citizen of a democratic South Africa when he's released from prison.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said they want Walus to be deported to his home country of Poland.

"He has not shown any remorse including the full disclosure on why his actions were premeditated on that day. What precipitated him to commit such a heinous crime in South Africa? In our view it was nothing else but was purely dictated and had all the prepping of a civil war."