Justice Dept to appeal parole for Chris Hani's murderer

Minister Michael Masutha believes the court erred in its judgment in granting Janusz Walus parole.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Justice Minister Michael Masutha has decided to appeal a ruling granting Janusz Waluś's parole.

Walus was imprisoned nearly 23 years ago and his application for parole was set aside by Masutha earlier this year.

Waluś is the man who shot and killed South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Chris Hani in 1993.

At the time of his death, Hani was a leader of the SACP.

The court had initially set aside Masutha's decision not to grant Waluś parole, and ordered that the minister place him on parole and set parole conditions within 14 days - from the date of judgment.

Masutha's legal representatives have today filed and served a notice of application for leave to appeal against the judgment with the Registrar of the High Court.

The department says it believes the High Court made an error by granting Waluś 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 members of the African National Congress 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."

Meanwhile, the SACP says it will join the Justice Department and Hani's family in their legal bid to appeal Waluś's parole.

The party's spokesperson Alex Mashilo says, "We are glad that the minister has listened to us and reached his own independent decision to appeal."

The man who supplied Waluś with the firearm, Clive Derby-Lewis, was granted medical parole last year.