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Chris Hani's killer is taken out and president Zuma is taken in... that's painful – Zweli Mkhize

Presidential hopeful says South Africans are still angry at Hani's murder

ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize
ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize
Image: Nqubeko Mbhele

South Africans are still angry over the murder of Chris Hani because they do not know who sent his killers, ANC presidential hopeful Zweli Mkhize says.

Mkhize was speaking in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, on Wednesday while giving a keynote address at the memorial lecture of Struggle icon Bertha Gxowa.

He was reacting to Monday's Constitutional Court judgment that ordered Hani's killer, Janusz Walus, to be placed on parole after serving 26 years at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional facility.

The Polish immigrant, who killed anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in 1993, became eligible for parole in 2005 but the unanimous decision by the ConCourt was met with extreme backlash, with some saying the justice system had failed Hani's family.

"We want to know if he was killed for pure criminality... who sent them? It becomes a problem when decisions are taken and we don't take into account how sore our spirits are still today about the death of Chris Hani.

"People don't understand the psyche of South Africans that to us this was the worst travesty of justice and the nature of its punishment is much more than the parole we see being handed over.

"We feel the pain that [Hani's wife] Mam'Limpho feels. We feel that pain. Chris Hani was a source of hope, an inspiration, even when things were difficult. When Chris Hani came around, just his mere stamina got you to say we're [going to war].

"This was the man... to suddenly disappear and then we're told one day [the man who killed him] has served enough. No," Mkhize said.

Mkhize was accompanied by Ekurhuleni regional chairperson Mzwandile Masina and ANC national executive committee member and deputy secretary-general hopeful Nomvula Mokonyane. Phumulo Masualle was also in attendance.

Mkhize continued that what was unfortunate about the ConCourt's ruling was that it coincided with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment that former president Jacob Zuma's release on medical parole was irrational.

The court said in law, Zuma has not finished his sentence and must return to Escourt Correctional Centre. "Chris Hani's killer is taken out and president Zuma is taken in. That’s painful.

"We’re not arguing whether there was anything technically wrong with the parole, that’s for lawyers. What hits us is what we feel.

"By the way comrades, don’t misunderstand us. We voted for the Constitution, we support it, we support the law, we respect the law and also don’t believe anyone is above the law but we’re also a South Africa that’s compassionate, that is supposed to understand some of the challenges and try and help us reconcile.

"I still don’t understand what it would mean to take an 80-year-old man back to prison. I respect the courts, I respect the law and I think all of us must. If president Zuma was turning 80 and would've been in prison he would've been told to get out of prison but now he must go back to prison," he said.

Mkhize, who will be contesting against Ramaphosa for the ANC presidency at Nasrec in December, said he had cautioned the leadership of the party not to underestimate people's pain.

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