Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema has opposed discussions on the death penalty, saying there is no evidence that it reduces crime. This is amid a spike in femicide in South Africa.
“We don’t support the death penalty, we don’t at all. Anyone who says we must bring (back) the death penalty must come and present scientific evidence of where the death penalty has succeeded in reducing crime. We must not be emotional here and start taking wrong decisions which are going to victimise all of us,” he warned.
Malema’s warning follows the murders of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana; female karate and boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels of Northwood Primary School; Mitchells Plain pupil Janika Mallo; and Ayakha Jiyani and her siblings Siphesihle, Khwezi and Kuhlekonke Mpungose.
Malema’s criticism of the discussions on a referendum on the death penalty follows Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola’s explanation of the decision that it was based on well-documented research that the death penalty had not served as a deterrent in any society around the world.
“The call for the reinstatement of the death penalty is flawed in many ways,” he added.
Lamola said the right to life was guaranteed by the 1993 Interim Constitution, which prohibited the death penalty. The Constitutional Court subsequently ruled that capital punishment was also forbidden by the Constitution.
However, Malema described the country’s criminal justice system as the most toothless when dealing with rape, detecting psychopaths and unearthing violent domestic spaces.
He said another reason the EFF did not support the death penalty was because access to the legal system in South Africa was very expensive.
”You may be wrongly accused and cannot afford proper legal representation and you go to intimidating courts and you’re unable to express yourself properly and an innocent soul gets hanged,” he said. The country needed a self-correcting system to prevent it from being abused by people knowingly making false accusations.
Malema suggested that the solution lay in fixing public institutions of law enforcement - police stations, prosecutors - and having judges who care.
“Perpetrators of sexual crimes in our country know that women never get any help from the system and thus they perpetrate their crimes on them with impunity,” he said.
“It is, therefore, the police and the criminal justice system that must take full responsibility for why rape and murder of women and children have become part of our daily lives.”