Home News Chris Hani – A reminder of how his death affected a nation

Chris Hani – A reminder of how his death affected a nation

The recent events surrounding the life and death of liberation struggle stalwart Chris Hani serve as a reminder of how his 1993 assassination affected the zeitgeist of the country.

Last month, the Constitutional Court set aside Justice Minister Ronald Lamola’s March 2020 decision to refuse Hani’s killer, Janusz Walus, parole, ordering the minister to release him within 10 days.

Recent developments have seen Lamola’s department saying that were Walus to be deported to Poland on his release, he would not be subject to the usual monitoring and conditions that accompany parole because South Africa does not have jurisdiction there.

The State’s stance is that it’s in the interests of justice that he instead remains here.

The minister said that against the backdrop of the “heinous” crime he committed, Walus must serve his parole period as part of sentence here in South Africa.

The far-right Walus was stabbed recently by a fellow inmate, but was released from prison on parole this week.

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola in a statement on Wednesday said that Walus had been released and that he had “been furnished with his parole conditions”.

“If he violates the conditions, he will be returned to a correctional centre”.

While Hani’s assassination affected the psyche of the nation and threatened to derail attempts for a peaceful transition to democracy, the SACP leader’s family lost a husband and father who had dedicated his adult life to trying to achieve the democracy he would not see.

It is against this backdrop that Hani’s widow, Limpho, described the Constitutional Court decision as “diabolical”.

“I have been in and out of court, and Walus lost all the cases. Now these ones, because in South Africa they are Gods, what they say goes. I wish them the best, you know about karma, watch the space all of them, I give them two years … This judgment is diabolical.

“And my understanding of Zondo’s judgment, as he was talking, indirectly, he says Walus did well to kill my husband.

“Now, let me tell you, if my husband was not killed, we would never have had elections … That’s why today Zondo and his friends are in court, otherwise we would still be under apartheid, he would be in a shack doing his practice.”

Last week, the Chris Hani Memorial Site at the Thomas Nkobi Cemetery in Boksburg was vandalised, with the ANC saying this was especially devastating as it occurs at a difficult moment in the country’s history, when Hani’s assassin, Walus, is set to be released from prison.

When Hani was assassinated on April 10, 1993, then ANC president Nelson Mandela, addressed the nation. He said that an unforgivable crime had been committed and that the calculated cold-blooded murder of Hani was a crime against all the people of the country.

“Tonight I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being. A white man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin.

“The cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the country and the world … Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against those who, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for – the freedom of all of us,” Mandela said in a televised address.