Fri Dec 09 07:45:15 SAST 2016

I won't say sorry. I don't talk about my feelings

By Cecil Motsepe | 2009-10-06 00:00:00.0 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

JANUSZ Walus - the man jailed for the April 1993 cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani - is determined to go to the grave with the name or names of people who hired him to assassinate the leader of the SA Communist Party.

JANUSZ Walus - the man jailed for the April 1993 cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani - is determined to go to the grave with the name or names of people who hired him to assassinate the leader of the SA Communist Party.

This grim prospect hit me on Saturday when I bumped into this Polish anti-communist immigrant while visiting friends in Pretoria's C-Max Prison.

Since it was a family day all the inmates were allowed on to the prison soccer grounds, where they mingled happily with members of the public.

Clad in an orange uniform, Walus seemed at home as he puffed away on a cigar in the company of his family.

Like a hungry lion I watched him from a distance as I lay in wait for his family to bid him farewell. Black inmates treated him with respect, scarcely conscious of the fact that Walus robbed the country of a beloved revolutionary leader. A few bowed as they stopped for a chat.

"They respect him because he is a karate sensei," one inmate whispered in my ear.

As soon as his family said their goodbyes, I jumped up and introduced myself.

With his cigar firmly clenched between his thin lips, Walus shot out his right hand to shake mine.

"I hear that you train inmates in karate," I asked in order to break the ice.

"Yes, sir, that is true. I share with my fellow inmates whatever I know about karate," he said.

After spending 10 minutes on the subject, I moved into second gear: "Were you not supposed to have received parole?"

Walus responded

"I was supposed to have gone out almost a year ago" he added that the delay was due to "certain" people conspiring against him.

Anyone watching us would have sworn we had known each other for many moons. Our conversation progressed smoothly until I pressed the wrong button: "When can we do an article about you? Something that would tell the public how sorry you are about Hani's murder?" His facial expression changed.

With his green eyes wide open, he leaned close to my face. I could almost feel his heartbeat. "I am not the kind of person who likes talking about my feelings," he said.

I told him that South Africans were very forgiving and that a public apology could earn him some sympathy and eventually open prison doors for him.

"My friend you are wasting your time. I will never talk about that subject," he said.

I pulled one last subterfuge: "Your attitude tells me that someone out there must be holding a gun to the heads of your family members."

"Most of my family is in Poland, so why would I be scared?" he said.

He shot out his arm and gave me a firm farewell handshake. I had failed to crack him, I thought to myself as he disappeared into the crowd.

Walus and senior Conservative Party MP Clive Derby Lewis were sentenced to death for Hani's murder in April 1993.

But their sentences were commuted to life in 1995. The pair were denied amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the late 1990s. Over the past few years they have tried in vain to get presidential pardons for their crime.

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