Death Penalty Review: Death sentences are seen as cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual.
On Thursday, DA MP Zak Mbhele proposed in the National Assembly the urgent need to review death penalty following the recent spate of brutal killings of women in the country.
Mbhele asserted that a review of the death penalty has been of deep interest and concern to me, especially each time he remembers how his mother was brutally murdered in 2011.
Weighing in, EFF MP, Hlengiwe Hlope lamented that reported cases of dehumanisation against women are usually abandoned if they are not followed up in the court of law.
She added that in most cases the sexuality women who fell victims are called into question – the way the sexuality of Zuma’s rape accuser was questioned.
IFP MP Mkhluleko Hlengwa and the NFP’s Ahmed Shaik-Emam argued during the debate that now is the right time to review the death penalty. Both speakers suggested for a referendum on the matter in order to punish abusers.
DA MP Mike Waters said the government lacks the political will to take a bold stand on the matter.
Although Minister for Women Susan Shabangu did not attend the sitting, her department is said to have been working hard in recent weeks to better the lives of South Africa.
This was affirmed by Home Affairs Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize, who said her department has been giving an important voice to women.
In South Africa, there is no evidence that death sentences or life imprisonment act as a deterrent to would-be offenders.
However, offences that attract mandatory life imprisonment include (with particular requirements) trafficking in persons for sexual purposes murder, rape, compelled rape, terrorism, and certain offences covered by the Implementation of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act.
Fast Facts To Know
- The Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty in South Africa on 6 June 1995.
- The National Party South Africa (NPSA), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the National Conservative Party of South Africa (NCPSA) want the death penalty to be brought back.
- Today, the number of countries that have totally abolish the death penalty have risen from 16 (as at 1977) to 104 – which is more than half the world’s countries.
- The top three executing countries in the world are China, Iran and Iraq.
- According to Amnesty.org, political opponents in countries like Iran and Sudan are usually executed using the death penalty by some authorities as a means of punishment.