ANC caucus rejects 'populist' call for death penalty
PARLIAMENT - The ANC parliamentary caucus on Monday ruled out the death penalty for perpetrators of gender-based violence, but was in favour of legislative changes to address the scourge which have led to widespread outrage across South Africa.
Addressing the media on the outcomes of the past weekend's caucus lekgotla, Chief Whip Pemmy Majodina said the Sexual Offences Act and Domestic Violence Act would be amended to allow for stricter punishment for perpetrators.
This included no bail for those accused of gender-based violence, but she said the ANC would not make a "populist" call for the death penalty to be reinstated.
"As the ANC lekgotla, we did not entertain that because we know that the Constitution gives us all the right to life and if it gives us the right to life and we took oaths as members of Parliament that we are going to abide by the Constitution and we cannot willy nilly stand up and call for...the death penalty or death sentence," she said.
"Women and children have died and therefore with the rate of these incidents it cannot be business as usual and therefore that right to apply for bail must form part of what we are going to amend that you cannot be applying for bail when you have killed a woman, when you have killed a defenceless child or a girl child, so to us that does not contradict with the Bill of Rights chapter 2 of the Constitution because that person has also taken a life...
"We are not talking about taking his life, but he must not enjoy some of the rights that are enjoyed by all other people."
The ANC caucus in Parliament supported additional measures including that a national emergency should be declared, that the National Register for Sex Offenderss be made public, and life sentences without the possibility of parole be imposed on offenders.
African News Agency (ANA)