JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The convicted killer of South African anti-apartheid leader Chris Hani has been released from prison in the capital Pretoria after serving more than 28 years for the 1993 murder.
Janusz Walus, 69, has been placed on parole effective Wednesday after he was discharged from the prison’s hospital wing, according to Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola.
He was to be released last week but he was stabbed by a fellow inmate two days before he was to be freed.
His release on parole follows a Constitutional Court judgment that said the minister’s decision to reject his parole was irrational.
“Offender Walus was only discharged from hospital today as he had been receiving treatment after he was involved in a stabbing incident. He will serve two years under community corrections in line with the parole regime upon which he is released,” Lamola said in a statement on Wednesday.
“In previously denying him parole, the decision was not in the spirit of avenging a stalwart of our liberation struggle, but it has always been within the context of giving effect to the interests of justice, from the perspective of what the sentencing court sought to achieve,” he said.
The decision to release Walus has been widely condemned by Hani’s supporters, including the ruling African National Congress party and the South African Communist Party, where he was serving as general secretary when he was killed.
Hani’s supporters staged demonstrations in Pretoria at the Kgosi Mampuru prison last week accusing Walus of showing no remorse and failing to disclose the full details about Hani’s murder. The demonstrators called for his parole to be reviewed.
Hani was killed during a volatile period ahead of South Africa’s transition from white minority rule to democracy. His killing almost plunged the country into more political violence.