Death penalty advocates are potential killers
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.