Janusz Waluś

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Janusz Waluś
Born (1953-01-14) 14 January 1953 (age 64)
Zakopane, Poland
Residence Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Nationality Polish
Citizenship South African
(1986 - 2017)
(since 1953)
Organization National Party
Known for Assassination of Chris Hani
Home town Radom, Poland
Criminal charge Murder
Criminal penalty Death (commuted to life imprisonment)
Criminal status Incarcerated

Janusz Waluś (born 14 January 1953)[1] is a Polish-South African political activist and far-right extremist. Best known for being the assassin 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).[2]

Early life and immigration[edit]

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,[3] 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.[4] Waluś defended his political objectives with the statement:

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.[5] 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 ruled that Waluś should be released.[11] The Department of Home Affairs has indicated that Waluś will be stripped of his South African citizenship and deported back to Poland if he is released on parole. His case is undergoing appeal as of September 2016.[12]

In February 2017 numerous Polish media reported that Waluś renounced South African citizenship (which he held since 1986) to make easier the process of his extradition back to Poland.


  1. ^ Fetherling, George. The Book of Assassins. Random House of Canada. pp. 613–. ISBN 9780307369093. 
  2. ^ "Hani lived and died for his principles - DA.". 2013-04-10. Archived from the original on May 13, 2013. 
  3. ^ Pomfret, John (13 April 1993). "ALLEGED S. AFRICAN ASSASSIN IS CALLED ANTI-COMMUNIST". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-05-12. 
  4. ^ Atkins, Stephen E. (2004). Encyclopedia of Modern worldwide extremists and extremist groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 12–. ISBN 9780313324857. 
  5. ^ a b "Walus, J.". 
  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". Retrieved 16 September 2016.