Janusz Waluś

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Janusz Waluś
Born (1953-01-14) 14 January 1953 (age 68)
CitizenshipSouth African
(1986 - 2017)
(since 1953)
Known forAssassination of Chris Hani
Criminal charge(s)Murder
Criminal penaltyDeath (commuted to life imprisonment)
Criminal statusIncarcerated

Janusz Jakub Waluś[1] (/ˈjɑːnəs ˈwɒləs/, Polish: [ˈjanuʂ ˈjakup ˈvaluɕ]; born 14 January 1953)[2] is a Polish convicted murderer. He previously held dual Polish-South African citizenship from 1986 until his South African citizenship was revoked in 2017.

Waluś is serving a life sentence in C-Max in Pretoria 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). On November 13, 2020, Waluś was refused parole for the fourth time, despite his lawyer's claim that he is completely rehabilitated.[3]


Janusz Waluś was born in Zakopane in Communist-ruled Poland and, in 1981, emigrated to South Africa to join his father and brother, who 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,[4] 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.[5]

The assassination of Chris Hani took place on Easter Saturday, 10 April 1993, a time when negotiations to end apartheid were taking place.[6][7] 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.[8] 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.[8]

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.[8] Clive Derby-Lewis was released from prison in June 2015 after serving 22 years;[9] he died over a year later, on November 3, 2016, from lung cancer.[10] On 10 March 2016, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that Waluś should be released on parole.[11] 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.[12]

In May 2017, Justice Minister Michael Masutha introduced an application to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to overturn Waluś's parole.[13] Meeting on 29 May, the court reserved judgment in the case, citing a procedural irregularity involving the Hani family's victim impact statement.[14] During the hearing, Waluś's 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.[15] On 18 August 2017, the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Waluś's parole, a decision that was welcomed by the SACP.[16] On 16 March 2020, Waluś was again denied parole by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola.[17]


Waluś has become a symbol for the Far-right in Poland, who glorify his actions and admire him for actively opposing Communism in South Africa. Football fans in Poland are oftentimes seen carrying scarves with his photo, bearing the hashtag StayStrongBrother, amid calls for his release. Waluś told Polish Journalist Cezary Lazarewicz that "there was a war in South Africa and he felt like a soldier... He still believes in the system of racial segregation and that whites and blacks should live apart."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Truth Commission - Special Report - TRC Final Report - Volume 6, Section 1, Chapter". sabctrc.saha.org.za. Retrieved 2019-10-30.
  2. ^ Fetherling, George. The Book of Assassins. Random House of Canada. pp. 613–. ISBN 9780307369093.
  3. ^ Tlhabye, Goitsemang (7 October 2019). "Advocate says Janusz Walus rehabilitated, simply being subjected to political bias". IOL. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ Pomfret, John (13 April 1993). "ALLEGED S. AFRICAN ASSASSIN IS CALLED ANTI-COMMUNIST". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-05-12.
  5. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2004). Encyclopedia of Modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 12–. ISBN 9780313324857.
  6. ^ Murder with a Political Motive. Economic and Political Weekly. 1993
  7. ^ Daley, Suzanne (22 August 1997). "Slayer Tells Inquiry of Mandela Ally's Killing". The New York Times. p. 13. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Kemp, A. "The death of Chris Hani: An African Misadventure".
  9. ^ Mokati, Noni (6 June 2015). "Derby-Lewis goes from cell to celebration..." IOLnews. Retrieved 15 November 2015.
  10. ^ "My husband is finally free - Gaye Derby-Lewis". News24. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  11. ^ "Chris Hani's killer Janusz Walus given parole in South Africa". BBC. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Janusz Walus fights to retain his SA citizenship". Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Walus's parole appeal postponed". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  14. ^ "UPDATE: Judgment reserved in Walus parole case". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  15. ^ "Home Affairs revokes Walus' SA citizenship". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  16. ^ "Court overturns decision to grant Chris Hani's killer parole". Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Janusz Walus denied parole over Chris Hani assassination". Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Janusz Walus: Why far-right Polish football fans idolise a murderer in South Africa". BBC News. 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2020-09-21.