Public calls for return of the dreaded death sentence continue to increase

With the ever increasing number of brutal murders and senseless killing of innocent South Africans escalating to frightening heights, it is not surprising that South Africans are increasingly calling for government to reconsider their decision to scrap the death penalty.


At the beginning of democracy about 25 years ago, scrapping of the death penalty and recognising the right to life of every individual as per the new South African Constitution gained the country multi international accolades.
It was on that basis that the death penalty was totally out-lawed in the country as was the case in numerous international countries and their laws. And during early democracy, it was almost criminal to even think loudly about resuscitating the death penalty. Today criminals including rapists, multi-murderers and other law breakers are sentenced to lengthy sentences which equal the death sentence as these hardcore criminals are usually sent to jail for more than two hundred years and even more depending on the gravity of their crimes. However, South Africans have now ran out of patients. They have told those in authority, “We don’t care about the length of jail terms these criminals spent behind bars. We want them to feel the pain they have caused us and our loved ones whose lives they have taken away or destroyed. When you sent them to jail, we, as tax payers, will be feeding and washing them. So what’s the use? They must be electrocuted or hanged until they die”.
While we are the last ones who may influence people to support or not to support calls for “an eye for an eye”, we say we understand and feel the pain the families of people who have been brutally murdered, raped, shot, stabbed and maimed. It is indeed very painful to lose your loved one with whom you have spent wonderful memories with. Somebody you had a very special relationship with.
And now, as part of what they believe to be remedial action, communities in various parts of the country have now resorted to what has been referred to as mob justice by taking the law into their own hands as part of addressing increasing incidents of crime.
These actions are deadly as members of the community react differently to any situation where they usually follow-up a perpetrator and mercilessly beat him up using a variety or assortment of weapons as part of acting against criminals.
Recently in Mahikeng, a young man was killed after members of the public reacted to the murder of a man at a tavern and followed the suspect to another village where he was beaten to death while another was killed by a mob at Imperial Reserve in Mahikeng after been found in a house with stolen goods. In Madibeng Hills also known as near Marikana, a man in his twenties was found in a house also with stolen goods and beaten to death. All incidents have been condemned by Provincial Commissioner; Lt-Gen Baile Motswenyane who warned the public against mob justice and taking the law into their own hands which she said was unlawful and would not be tolerated.
Individuals and political parties have called for a referendum to test the views of the public about recalling the death penalty which would be a very emotional exercise and is sure to receive stiff opposition from various quarters throughout the country, while many would continue their support for the recall of the death penalty.