The gallows at Pretoria's Kgosi Mampuru prison where condemned prisoners were hanged during apartheid. The last person hanged here was in 1989. (Picture: Pretoria News archives)

DURBAN-There are now nearly 600 000 signatures on the petition calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty.

The petition on Change.Org started by Agent of Change is addressed to the government of South Africa and president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Parliament's spokesperson, Manelisi Wolela said once the petition had the desired number of signatures it can be sent to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings. 

There are exactly 590,856 signatures and it was started three weeks ago following the brutal murders of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, female karate and boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels, Northwood Primary School, Mitchell’s Plain pupil Janika Mallo, Pinetown Girls’ High School pupil Ayakha Jiyani and her Lyndhurst Primary siblings Siphesihle, Khwezi and Kuhlekonke Mpungose.

Two weeks after the petition was started there were 400 000 signatures on the petition and by last Saturday there were 580 000 signatures on it with the goal of getting one million signatures on it.

A link to the petition has also been doing the rounds on local whatsapp groups.

In a local crime discussion group Oshnee Singh from Pietermaritzburg shared a link to the petition where she had already signed her name.

“As many of us are bearing the brunt of serious crimes with too relaxed punitive measures.  And these serious offenses are increasing by an alarming rate. There is so much fear among citizens, that means no peace and harmony prevails any more”.

Daily News