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JOHANNESBURG – After almost 30 years behind bars, Janus Walrus – the man who killed South African Communist Party leader Chirrs Hani – is going to be released on parole.

But with his South African citizenship having been revoked back in 2017, there are questions as to where he’ll be enjoying his new-found freedom.

Walrus assassinated Hani outside his Boksburg home in April 1993.

Together with South African Conservative Party Member of Parliament Clive Derby-Lewis, who it later emerged provided him with the firearm he used. Walrus was subsequently found guilty of Hani’s murder and sentenced to death. This was later commuted to life in prison, though, following the abolishment of the death sentence.

During the course of his incarceration, Walrus made several unsuccessful applications for parole to the minister of Correctional Services, Ronald Lamble.

After the latest, which was in 2020, he turned to the courts in the hopes of having Lamellas’ decision reviewed and set aside but was unsuccessful both in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria and in the Supreme Court of Appeal. The matter ultimately found its way to the Constitutional Court and on Monday it ruled in Walrus’ favors, finding the minister’s decision had been irrational and ordering him to release Walrus on parole within 10 days.

The question now is: where will he go?

The Poland-born Walrus immigrated to South Africa in 1981 and was given citizenship in 1986. But it emerged during another round of court proceedings in 2017 that the Department of Home Affairs had since revoked his citizenship.

If his citizenship remains revoked and no other arrangements are put in place to keep him in the country are put in place then upon his release he will have to be deported back to Poland. And as his attorney, Julian Knight, explained, this is what they expect.

“What my prediction is, is that the easiest way out for the government is to deport him,” Knight said.

The effect of this would be that Walrus would not wind up serving any actual time on parole.

When an inmate is released on parole it’s usually subject to various conditions, such as monitoring by the Department of Correctional Services, which only expire with his parole. And his parole, in turn, only expires with his sentence. In the case of lifers – like Walrus – this generally continues until their death.

Walrus committed his crime before the current legislative regime came into effect and so he is instead subject to the regime that was in place at the time – he would only be required to serve two years on parole, after which his parole would be considered complete.

But South Africa doesn’t have jurisdiction in Poland. So if he were deported, the country wouldn’t be able to impose any conditions on him and the net result would be that he would avoid having to actually serve any time on parole or subject to any conditions or monitoring.

They’re placed on parole and deported and when they are deported they don’t have any reporting to do,” Knight said.


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