South Africa’s ruling party has protested the court’s decision to release the killer of Chris Hani, who was shot in 1993.
The grave of anti-apartheid hero Chris Hani has been vandalized days after a South African court ordered the far-right gunman who killed him to be paroled.
The town of Ekurhuleni, near Johannesburg, where the grave and memorial of the late Communist Party leader is located, said authorities had opened an investigation into the damage, which took place over the weekend.
Members of South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), protested outside a Supreme Court on Saturday after it ordered the release of Janusz Walus, the Polish immigrant who murdered Hani in 1993.
One of the monument’s pillars was badly damaged, one side fell off and the electric lighting system was stolen, Ekurhuleni spokesman Zweli Dlamini told AFP news agency on Tuesday.
Hania popular figure and staunch opponent of the apartheid regime, was gunned down in the driveway of his home a year before South Africa’s first multiracial elections.
The shooting came just as negotiations to end apartheid entered their final stages, sparking tensions that some feared could erupt into civil war.
Walus, 69, was sentenced to life in prison and his requests for parole have been rejected by several justice ministers.
After reviewing a 2020 decision to reject his application, the Constitutional Court described the minister’s ruling as irrational and ordered that Walus be released within the next 10 days. He is expected to be released on Thursday.
Hani’s widow described the Constitutional Court’s decision as “diabolical”.
The sentiment was shared by the ANC and the South African Communist Party. In a joint statement with unions released on Monday, the two sides condemned the vandalism of Hani’s memorial as a “provocative attack”.
“The verdict pleased the unrepentant apartheid perpetrators, who celebrated, while the family of the victim, Chris Hani, and other victims of apartheid were hurt and deeply disappointed,” the statement said.
“This is how South Africa is now redistributed. It is in this context that the attack on the Chris Hani Memorial Site took place, threatening societal stability, just as the murder of Chris Hani did,” it added.
Speaking to local media outside court on Saturday, senior ANC member Panyaza Lesufi referred to Walus when he said: “We have the right to send him the message that you killed our hero. He’s a murderer and he should know it.’
On Monday, the Home Office announced that Walus would have to serve his parole in South Africa because he would not be allowed to return to Poland in view of the “heinous crime committed”.