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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

SACP Statement on Re-opening of Media Interest in 1997

The Hani Killers - No Amnesty Without Full Disclosure

31 January 1997

The SACP welcomes the re-opening, in the media, of questions about the circumstances surrounding the assassination of our comrade and former general secretary, Chris Hani. But we are also suspicious of what lies behind some of this.

We welcome the reopening of the matter because we have, from the outset, argued that Chris Hani was the victim of an extensive conspiracy. We have never accepted that his killing was simply the work of the two individuals, Waluz and Derby-Lewis, who are currently in jail for the murder.

These convicted killers are now applying for amnesty through the TRC. The assassination, as we all know, very nearly achieved its broader objective - the complete derailing of the negotiated transition.

The TRC owes it to the Hani family and to the people of our country that it does not approach this particular amnesty application in a routine manner. We believe that the assassination goes to the heart of the apartheid intelligence and disinformation machinery.

At the very least, full disclosure of all the facts is imperative. If there is the least doubt that those applying for amnesty are holding back on information in this matter, amnesty must not be granted.

In welcoming the media reopening of the circumstances around the assassination, we also wish to express a word of caution. Chris Hani's family, the SACP and ANC are not the only ones watching this particular amnesty application. There are those who will certainly try to throw up smoke and dust in the coming days and weeks.

Today's Mail and Guardian story ("New evidence in Hani death plot") appears to contain some fresh and helpful information. But it also, at certain points, lends itself to the mythology that was part and parcel of the conspiracy that was directed against Chris Hani.

In particular, the story repeats the claim that "A few months before his death, Hani said in a foreign newspaper interview that he was thinking of starting an outside communist/labour organisation to act as a check on the ANC in the government". This refers to a story by Richard Ellis in the London Sunday Times, 31 January 1993. A careful reading of the story will show that Hani made no such statement, although the story does its best through innuendo to imply that Hani was involved in an anti-ANC plot.

We are convinced that this kind of innuendo, appearing a few weeks before the assassination, was designed to throw suspicion away from the apartheid intelligence networks. The claims were all forcefully denied by Hani in the media at the time. Ellis, then the London Sunday Times Johannesburg correspondent, actively lent himself to the disinformation campaign that targeted Hani in the months before his killing. When the SACP fingered Ellis in our publications, he threatened to sue, but of course he never did. Ellis was also the journalist who, two weeks after the killing, made the outrageous claim that it was the work of Hani's "rivals" in the ANC. Ellis's activities in South Africa, and his contacts, need to be one of the many aspects of the Hani case that the TRC takes into account.

As the date for the Waluz/Derby-Lewis amnesty application approaches we can expect the old apartheid intelligence networks to grind into operation, throwing out all kinds of red herrings.

The SACP urges the Correctional Services authorities to pay particular attention in this period to the physical safety of Waluz and Derby-Lewis. We should take note of the Mail and Guardian story which repeats the claim that Eugene Riley, a Military Intelligence agent, was assassinated in January 1994 because of his knowledge about the wider conspiracy behind Hani's killing.

We also call on all those apartheid intelligence figures who were involved in the campaign against Hani to come clean.

Issued by: SACP HQ
3rd Floor Cosatu House
1 Leyds St.
Braamfontein
2001

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.