Death penalty ad­vo­cates are po­ten­tial killers

The Mercury - - OPINION - KOERT MEYER Cape Town

THE let­ter (“Govern­ment is help­less in de­feat­ing crim­i­nals”, The Mer­cury, June 11), wherein the writer calls for the re­in­state­ment of the death penalty shocked many.

I was not sur­prised by the writer’s pro-death penalty stance.

An­other seem­ingly reg­u­lar correspondent unashamedly states “ex­e­cu­tion must take place in full view of the public, broad­cast on a public TV chan­nel, not done se­cretly at 4am in the dark­ness of some cold, iso­lated, far-off dun­geon in the phantom zone of Pretoria”.

Me­dieval stuff !

Our coun­try was no­to­ri­ous for ex­e­cu­tions dur­ing colo­nial and apartheid eras.

Peo­ple’s heads were even im­paled on poles. Ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings, death squads, as­sas­si­na­tion of political op­po­nents were rife.

Al­to­gether 136 were hanged in Pretoria, among them Solomon Mahlangu and An­drew Zondo, the lat­ter hav­ing been sent to the gal­lows by Tony Leon, the for­mer DA leader’s fa­ther, Ra­mon Leon, who died re­cently. What did it help?

In the ab­sence of a Death Penalty In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre like the one in Wash­ing­ton, these folks are hav­ing a field day in­sti­gat­ing vi­o­lence, sweep­ing up emo­tions of an al­ready fear­ful elec­torate for some­thing highly im­prac­ti­cal to im­ple­ment. How can any coun­try ex­e­cute 19 061 mur­der­ers? (the lat­est fig­ures). What about rapists, gang­sters, drunk and reck­less drivers also caus­ing death to many? Not all are even caught, con­victed and jailed.

Our Con­sti­tu­tional Court abol­ished this scourge with a de­ci­sive 11-0 vote in 1995, declar­ing it de­hu­man­is­ing, a vi­o­la­tion of rights, es­pe­cially the right to life.

The world is fast mov­ing away from it with al­ready more than half abo­li­tion­ist states. When the US fi­nally takes this bold step, it will pave the way for others, in­clud­ing the other bul­lies China, In­dia, Ja­pan, North Korea, and all 67 Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity states to do like­wise.

War-rav­aged coun­tries of­ten come here to learn how we emerged from our dis­mal past to be a bea­con of hope.

In the apartheid era all English pa­pers ex­cept one, reg­u­larly de­clared their op­po­si­tion to it.

Elec­tions are loom­ing. Will the lit­tle political par­ties, in­clud­ing the DA, once again use it to lure vot­ers, or re­main cowardly silent on such an emo­tive is­sue that caused so much pain in our past?

It is best for this Tro­jan horse to stay far away from our shores. Abo­li­tion­ist coun­tries are the world’s most demo­cratic, pro­gres­sive and civilised, the others re­main­ing firmly on their path to the abyss.

There­fore, any­one who sup­ports the death penalty is him­self a po­ten­tial mur­derer.

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