Convicted killer of South African anti-apartheid hero gets bail

Janusz Walus

The convicted killer of South African anti-apartheid leader, Chris Hani, will be freed on bail in two weeks after more than 20 years in prison, a Pretoria court ruled on Thursday.

Janusz Walus is serving a life sentence for the 1993 murder of Hani, a charismatic activist and politician who was both a senior member of the African National Congress (ANC) and the head of the South African Communist Party (SACP) when he was gunned down.

The decision to free him is likely to be contentious in a country still dealing with the legacy of the brutality meted out by the white-minority regime that prevailed from 1948 to 1994.

Mr. Hani’s murder threatened to derail South Africa’s transition to multi-racial democracy, leading to nationwide riots and triggering fears of a civil war.

Chris Hani
Chris Hani

Mr. Walus, a Polish immigrant, shot Mr. Hani dead outside his Johannesburg home.

“Yes, he got parole,” his lawyer, Roelof du Plessis, said after the court session.

Mr. Walus was sentenced alongside Clive Derby-Lewis, a right-wing politician who provided the murder weapon.

Both men were originally sentenced to death, but that was commuted to life in prison after South Africa abolished death penalty in 1995.

Mr. Derby-Lewis was freed on medical liberation last year.

Mr. Hani’s wife, Limpho, however criticised the decision to free Mr. Walus.



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