MK Party wants referendum on death penalty

In its consulting manifesto, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party states that it wants the death penalty to be put to popular vote. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

In its consulting manifesto, the uMkhonto weSizwe Party states that it wants the death penalty to be put to popular vote. Picture: Timothy Bernard/Independent Newspapers.

Published Mar 31, 2024


FORMER president Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP) has promised to get rid of corruption and hold a referendum on the death penalty if it emerges victorious in the May 29 national and provincial elections.

According to the MKP’s election manifesto, last year, South Africa fell six positions on the Global Corruption Index, from 77th to 83rd position, which the organisation said signalled an increase in corruption.

Among the MKP’s plans to combat the scourge of graft is strengthening the fight against corruption by increasing the funding and capacity of the National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigative Directorate.

Also in the party’s sights is the Border Management Authority, which it says is ineffective, faces a lack of resources and infrastructure, co-ordination and co-operation, and is fraught with corruption and mismanagement.

The party also plans to revamp the Department of Home Affairs by eliminating corruption and updating immigration infrastructure.

It wants to ensure that there is a dedicated fight to eliminate corruption among correctional officials and the police.

”The current government persistently under-funds school infrastructure and neglects mother tongue education, and corruption thrives with the sale of teacher positions,” the MKP said in its manifesto towards developmental agenda.

The party plans to establish indigenous languages as mandatory official languages taught in schools from grades zero to 12, used in higher education, legal proceedings and all state communication.

The MKP wants to foster closer co-operation between police services and crime intelligence, thereby enhancing proactive crime prevention strategies, strengthen crime intelligence and clean out operatives that have links to criminal syndicates.

It has undertaken to hold a referendum on the death penalty, which was outlawed in South Africa decades ago.

The party’s crime-fighting efforts would include resourcing forensic laboratories to speed up arrests and improve convictions, ensure that each police station had a well-resourced specialised unit dedicated to the investigation of gender-based crimes, and accelerate the prosecution of all pending cases that had long been overdue since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In correctional facilities, the MKP says, technology would be deployed to ensure they were not breeding grounds for crime and that offenders became part of crime-fighting initiatives and programmes of paying back to society.

However, the MKP suffered a major blow when Zuma was barred from standing after he was nominated for the upcoming polls as MKP leader.

”Remedial action for civil matters is usually a fine, but not imprisonment. In the case of Zuma, an inappropriate penalty was applied.

“This lackadaisical interpretation of the law has gotten the Electoral Commission of SA into a serious legal wrangle that will see Zuma and his lawyers going to court to challenge this issue that had been allowed to lie dormant for a number of reasons,” a senior member of the party stated this week.

Zuma and the MKP have until April 2, the cut-off date for contesting the IEC’s decision, to respond.

”If l were to advise the IEC, it should be that they revisit this matter and allow an open contest. In the meantime, the MK Party will optimise this free publicity it is getting in recent weeks. It did not fill a stadium but is becoming the most talked about political party at the moment, with exactly two months to go (before the elections),” the member said.

One of the objections to Zuma’s candidature said Zuma was not eligible to be a member of the National Assembly as he was convicted of an offence and sentenced to more than 12 months imprisonment, without the option of a fine, and that a period of five years after the sentence had been completed had not elapsed.

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