South Africa places assassin of anti-Apartheid icon on parole

By Paul Richardson

South African authorities granted parole to Janusz Walus, a Polish national whose killing of political activist Chris Hani three decades ago threatened to unleash a civil war in the dying days of apartheid. 

He was freed with strict conditions, the Justice & Correctional Services Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. He was released after being discharged from the hospital, where he was receiving treatment after being stabbed by a fellow inmate, it said.

“There is no question that offender Walus is a polarizing figure in our budding constitutional democracy, and that his release has understandably re-opened wounds among some in society, especially the family of the late struggle icon Chris Hani,” the ministry said. 

Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis, a White-supremacist politician, were convicted of the 1993 murder of Hani and given the death penalty. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment in 1995 when South Africa abolished capital punishment. Hani’s widow criticized the Constitutional Court’s ruling last month that Walus should be granted parole.

Walus will serve two years of community service, the ministry said.

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