NADEL statement on the news of the imminent release of the assassin of Chris Hani

1. The National Association of Democratic lawyers (NADEL) is shocked at the manner within which the High Court arrived at the conclusion that Janus Walus, the assassin, deserves to be granted parole and that he should be released in the next two weeks.

2. The Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, after considering all the relevant factors prescribed by the enabling legislation, decided not to grant the application for parole. His reasoning was that the crime committed was of such a magnitude that its seriousness out weighted other considerations that might have favoured the granting of the parole. The High court on review found that this decision was irrational and unreasonable.

3. It is not an exaggeration to say that this was not just a random murderous act but a heinous crime aimed at possibly creating and accelerating conditions for a civil war in defence of an Apartheid system which had by then already been declared a crime against humanity. It was crime also aimed at dashing the hopes and aspirations of the endeavours towards ushering in a peaceful nation which was about to be born in the place of the ashes of Apartheid. The fact that the calamitous intent was not realised as planned should not cloud anyone as to the enormity of the occurrence.

4. The Minister in making his decision took into account all the relevant factors. We submit that the decision by the Minister was neither irrational nor unreasonable and definitely not both, as held by the court. The court in its reasoning has failed to substantiate how the Ministers decision was unreasonable and/ or irrational. NADEL while respecting the independency of the judiciary joins the call, in support of the Hani family, for the Government to appeal the decision.

5. Walus’s legal representatives submitted that he, Walus, ought to be released on parole in the spirit of reconciliation. As NADEL we recognise the need for reconciliation as a means necessary and essential towards building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic state. Reconciliation however will not be achieved by simply releasing political prisoners such as J Walus nor will it be achieved by locking them behind bars till their death. Reconciliation can only be achieved by joint effort from all the people in South Africa.

6. Reconciliation is more than just about forgiveness and the changing of the attitudes of the victims of past injustices and those who are its perpetrators (this is inclusive of those who enjoy the benefits of the actions of the said perpetrators) towards each other. Reconciliation also requires overcoming divisions that exist amongst them. The division between victims and perpetrators exists mainly through racism and in the allocation of resources such as income, health, land and education.

7. We need to acknowledge our past injustices, improve relationships and share our resources fairly and equitably. Our steps towards reconciliation shall always be hampered until the gap between those who benefited from apartheid and those who are victims has been closed

8. The case of Walus has forced many to look back and appreciate just how painful our past is, recent racial comments of the likes of Penny Sparrow has led us to a realisation that racism still exists in our society and the current allocation of resources that resources are still inequitably distributed amongst South Africans, with those previously disadvantages still suffering the most.

9. We therefore call upon all South Africans to unite towards building a better South Africa for all, for zero tolerance and tough actions to taken be against those guilty of racism and for government to take more stringent steps towards closing the Gap between all South Africans. In the words of the late Nelson Mandela, “We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the sunk of the world, let freedom reign.”.

Issued on of behalf of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), South Africa
By: Memory Sosibo, NADEL Publicity Secretary, Contact: 081 710 7910
Bennock Shabangu, NADEL NEC member, Contact: 082 895 5154