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Remorse, suicidal thoughts and anger emerge in Chris Hani killer’s parole bid

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There were glaring contradictions in psychological reports about the remorse which Chris Hani’s killer, Janusz Walus, had and this led to Minister of Justice and Correctional Services to deny him parole – yet again.

During a press conference in Tshwane on Wednesday, Masutha gave a detailed explanation.

“The placement of the offender on parole is not granted. It is directed that a further profile be submitted within six months of this decision for my consideration,” Masutha said.

Conflicting reports

In the one psychological report – that of Joel Mbhele – it was found that Walus’s ideas on communism still stood and that he had no empathy for killing the leader of the South African Communist Party.

“Regarding empathy, it can be said that he expresses remorse for the fact that the victim’s children are fatherless and the wife is a widow. However, he showed no remorse for murdering Chris Hani, the communist leader,” Masutha said, reading an extract of the report.

“He still rationalises his actions and insists that they were politically motivated.”

However, in the report of Zelda Buitendag, Walus’s own private psychologist, she said that he showed sincere remorse for the crime that he committed.

“When asked about his reasoning regarding Mr Hani’s murder and if he is rationalising it, he admits to rationalising the assassination before, during and shortly after committing the offence, but says he realises that violence and killing someone is not the answer, even if people have different views,” Masutha quoted Buitendag was quoted as saying.

“It is morally wrong and he feels guilty about it.”

In Buitendag’s report, it also emerged that Walus experienced anger issues which would lead to explosive episodes.

Masutha said that, in light of the conflicting reports, Buitendag and Mbhele were directed to jointly assess Walus and file a joint report on the issues of risk of re-offending and remorse.

He added that Walus should undergo individual psychotherapy to address challenges highlighted in Buitendag’s report, which include depression, suicidal thoughts and explosive anger episodes.

Walus is currently serving a life sentence at Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre for killing the SACP leader in the driveway of his Boksburg home on April 10, 1993. He was denied parole on several occasions.

In 2018, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria gave Masutha 120 days to reconsider releasing Walus on parole.

His attorney, Julian Knight, said that in September last year, Judge Selby Baqwa gave the minister until early January this year to reconsider Walus’ parole, taking into account all relevant information, including comments by Walus, Hani’s widow Limpho Hani and the SACP on a negative parole board recommendation.

Masutha told the media on Wednesday that the deadline was extended because he only received submissions from the SACP and the Hani family on January 9.

News24 previously reported that Masutha said releasing the convicted murderer on parole would be pointless because he “still harbours resentment”.

Walus has been incarcerated since October 1993, serving just over 25 years behind bars.

Conservative Party MP Clive Derby-Lewis, who supplied the weapon Walus used to kill Hani, was sentenced to death for the murder in October 1993, along with the Polish immigrant. Their death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in November 2000.

Derby-Lewis was later released on medical parole suffering from lung cancer. He died in November 2016 at his home in Pretoria.

SACP welcomes the decision

SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila told News24 on Wednesday that they welcome the denial of parole by Masutha based on evidence by professionals.

“We know this man said he will kill again,” said Mapaila.

“He isn’t remorseful and he doesn’t realise the damage that he caused to the country, not only to the Hani family.”

Mapaila added that a man such as Walus should not be allowed in public and that until he has been properly corrected he should remain incarcerated, not like the “vindictive” Derby-Lewis who was released and then made a video saying that he would do it all again.

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