Chris Hani, the SACP secretary-general, is assassinated

Remembering Chris Hani graphic Image source

Saturday, 10 April 1993

On this day twenty five years ago, the South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary-general, Chris Thembisile Hani also known to many as Tshonyane (his clan name), was shot and killed in the driveway of his Boksburg home. Soon after, Janus Walus, a Polish immigrant who came to South Africa in 1982, was arrested in connection with the murder. He was linked to co-conspirator Clive Derby-Lewis, a Conservative Party (CP) Member of Parliament (MP)and his wife Gaye.

During the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearing, Walus said: "I did not want to shoot him in the back. I called to Mr Hani. When he turned I fired the first shot into his body. As he turned and fell down, I fired a second shot at his head."

Hani was killed in front of his 15-year-old daughter Nomakhwezi. The death of the leader of the armed wing of the ANC and popular communist leader on the eve of the first democratic elections in South Africa fuelled fears of violence and threatened the transition to democracy

• Smith J. And Tromp B. (2008), ‘The assassination of Chris Hani’, from IOL, 10 April, [online], Available at [Accessed: 12 March 2012]
• Wallis, F. (2000). Nuusdagboek: feite en fratse oor 1000 jaar, Kaapstad: Human & Rousseau.
• Coleman, M. (ed)(1998). A Crime Against Humanity: analysing the repression of the apartheid state, Johannesburg: Human Rights Committee, p. 256.

Last updated : 10-Apr-2018

This article was produced for South African History Online on 05-Apr-2013