14 January 1953|
|Residence||Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa|
(1986 - 2017)
|Known for||Assassination of Chris Hani|
|Home town||Radom, Poland|
|Criminal penalty||Death (commuted to life imprisonment)|
Janusz Waluś (/
Waluś is currently serving a life sentence for the 1993 assassination of Chris Hani, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).
Early life and immigration
Waluś was born in Zakopane in communist Poland and, in 1981, emigrated to South Africa to join his father and brother. They had arrived in South Africa in the 1970s and established a small glass factory. After the family business went bankrupt some years later, Waluś, then a truck driver, joined both the National Party and the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, becoming more and more involved in the far right politics supporting South Africa's apartheid regime. Waluś defended his political objectives with the statement:
|“||They (the ANC) are communist and they will destroy this wonderful country. They will squander all that was built here by Whites with such difficulty. It pains me that everything here will be destroyed in the name of a multiracial Utopia that will never work here. They want freedom and democracy. In a few years freedom and democracy will be all they will have.||”|
The assassination of Chris Hani took place on Easter Saturday, 10 April 1993, a time when negotiations to end apartheid were taking place. Waluś drove to Chris Hani's house in Boksburg, Johannesburg, around 10:20 am. Hani had just returned home and, as he got out of his car, Waluś called out his name, at which Hani turned around and was shot once in the body and then three times in the head. Hani died on the scene, while Waluś fled. A neighbour noted the registration of the car fleeing the scene, which resulted in Waluś's capture. Although Waluś denied any participation in the assassination, he made the mistake of assuming one of the policemen was a right-winger and exposed his own story. Thorough investigation revealed that Clive Derby-Lewis had instigated the assassination and organized the acquisition of the weapon for Waluś. The police found a hit-list that suggested Hani was only the third on Waluś's and Derby-Lewis's list, which also included the names and addresses of Nelson Mandela and Joe Slovo, among others.
Janusz Waluś and Clive Derby-Lewis were sentenced to death for their actions, but after the abolition of the death penalty in South Africa their sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. With the introduction of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after apartheid, Waluś applied for amnesty, which would give him parole. After extensive investigation the commission found that he and Derby-Lewis were not acting on higher orders and refused amnesty; he remained in prison. Clive Derby-Lewis was released from prison in June 2015 after serving 22 years; he died over a year later, on November 3, 2016, from lung cancer. On 10 March 2016, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Waluś should be released on parole. The Department of Home Affairs indicated in September 2016 that Waluś would be stripped of his South African citizenship and deported back to Poland if he was released on parole.
In May 2017, Justice Minister Michael Masutha introduced an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to overturn Waluś' parole. Meeting on 29 May, the court reserved judgment in the case, citing a procedural irregularity involving the Hani family's victim impact statement. During the hearing, Waluś' advocate Roelof du Plessis stated that his client's South African citizenship had been revoked by the Department of Home Affairs "just a few weeks" earlier, and that a warrant for his deportation had been issued. On 18 August 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Waluś' parole, a decision welcomed by the SACP.
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