Janusz Waluś’s lawyers say appeal was inevitable
The justice department says it believes the High Court made an error by granting Janusz Waluś parole.
JOHANNESBURG - Lawyers for the man who killed Chris Hani, Janusz Waluś, say they're not surprised the Department of Justice is appealing the decision to grant him parole because of the politics around the case.
Waluś was sent to jail in 1993 for shooting the South African Communist Party (SACP) leader dead during South Africa's Constitutional negotiations.
The High Court in Pretoria granted him parole earlier this month before the justice ministry said today it would appeal that decision.
Waluś's lawyer, Julian Knight, says he was fully expecting government to appeal this decision.
"You had the [African National Congress] itself organising a protest to the Constitutional Court where minister of the Cabinet took part in the matter."
But the SACP's Alex Mashilo says Walus cannot be released yet.
"The man remains an unrepentant murder, he does not show any adequate remorse and parole in South Africa is not a right, it is a privilege. The behaviour of the offender cannot be ignored."
Knight claims this appeal has nothing to do with the law.
"I think if you look at a broader context of other people that have been released on parole, I don't believe there are any merits other than the politics surrounding the sensitivity of the murder of Chris Hani."
But Mashilo says Waluś should never be released because of what he did.
"That murder drove South Africa to the brink of a civil war and the enormity of that cannot be underestimated."
The High Court judge in the case said the justice and correctional services minister had not followed the proper procedures in denying him parole.
The department says it believes the High Court made an error by granting Walus parole.
While lawyers representing the Polish national argued that he be freed in the spirit of Ubuntu, the decision to grant him parole was met with harsh criticism by Hani's wife and ANC members of the and SACP.
Department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says, "The minister decided to apply for leave to appeal. He believes the judge erred in his findings and believes another court will arrive at a different conclusion."
The SACP is also going to join the justice ministry in lodging this appeal.