Just days before his killer is set to be released from prison on parole, Chris Hani’s memorial in Ekurhuleni has been badly damaged by heavy storms.
On Saturday afternoon, a marble slab attached to one of the memorial’s four tall pillars crashed to the ground and shattered across the monument to the anti-apartheid hero.
A security guard at the Thomas Nkobi Memorial Garden in Elspark said that during the storm, they heard a loud bang coming from within the facility.
When they went to investigate they found parts of the structure damaged.
The security guard, who asked not to be named, said he doesn’t suspect that the structure was intentionally vandalized by anyone.
“The storm was very bad; some of the trees within the facility were also uprooted,” he told Scrolla.Africa.
“I even feared that our security office, which is a shack, would be damaged.
“If anyone indeed vandalized the structure they would have also defaced Chris Hani’s tombstone, which is just a few feet from the structure and was left untouched,” he said.
The structure was erected in April 2015 in memory of the fallen hero who was assassinated 29 years ago.
In a statement released by the ANC in Gauteng, the secretary Thembinkosi “TK” Nciza said desecration of the monument is “devastating” as it occurs at “a difficult moment in our history”. Hani’s assassin, Janusz Walus, is set to be released from prison in the coming days after he was granted parole last week by the Constitutional Court in a landmark ruling.
Walus was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment for assassinating the struggle fighter in October 1993.
In 2020 he applied for parole but his application was denied by Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. Walus’s appeal was rejected by the Pretoria High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal but eventually landed before the Constitutional Court, which granted the appeal on 21 November.
The court’s decision was met with outrage by several of the country’s major parties. On Saturday, members of the Tripartite Alliance — the ANC, the South African Communist Party and Congress of South African Trade Unions — picked outside the Constitutional Court.
Protesters were demanding that the court overturn its decision to release Walus.
Gauteng ANC chairperson Panyaza Lesufi described the decision as an act of injustice.
Walus will not be deported to Poland as his parole conditions require that he serves his parole in the country.