Chris Hani’s killer apologises at ConCourt to family

Chris Hani's daughter Linda, his widow Limpho Hani and SACP first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila during an earlier parole hearing of Hani's killer Janusz Walus at the North Gauteng High Court. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg – Chris Hani’s assassin Janusz Waluś has expressed remorse for killing the Struggle icon almost 29 years after his after assassinating him, and apologised to his family and the country.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court heard Waluś’ latest bid to be released from parole after serving his life sentence since October 1993.

Roelof du Plessis SC, Waluś’ advocate, told the apex court that his client previously publicly apologised for what he had done.

”I have instructions to apologise before this court, to the public, to Mrs. (Limpho) Hani in particular, to the SACP (SA Communist Party) and to South Africa on his behalf for what he has done. He has sincere remorse,” he said.

According to du Plessis, in South Africa there is the principle of ubuntu, which he indicated did not apply in western countries.

”If one applies the principle of ubuntu in this matter the outcome should be in favour of the applicant (Waluś) and we request you to do so,” he explained.

Du Plessis said Hani’s widow Limpho Hani refuses to speak to Waluś and that there was nothing that he could do.

He added that Waluś, 69, had extended his apologies to Mrs Hani, the family and the SACP personally.

Du Plessis told the Constitutional Court that he (du Plessis) even had a discussion with the SACP’s first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila when the matter was before the court.

”There have been many discussions on the matter. Mrs Hani has indicated that she will not forgive him,” he said.

Acting Justice David Unterhalter asked du Plessis if there was ever a crime so heinous and serious that the perpetrator deserved a life sentence without the possibility of being released on parole.

In his response, du Plessis said there were two Chinese nationals who cut up a woman and cooked her but could not recall if they ate her.

He said they were released after 15 years and deported to their country.

Another example, du Plessis gave was the case of apartheid death squad commander Eugene de Kock, who shot and killed people, and made it seem like it was a political crime.

Du Plessis said de Kock was out after spending 22 years in prison.

”How heinous must the crime be for someone not to be eligible for parole?” he asked.

Du Plessis added that life imprisonment is excessive because it had been found to have been unconstitutional.

”It is not a normal matter. This is a person who has been incarcerated the longest as far as we know in South Africa,” he said.

Du Plessis said previous correctional services ministers and their functionaries let people who cooked others free after 15 years in jail, which he described as eminently unreasonable.

The hearing continues.