Why you cannot have the death sentence.
De Kok is/was an evil man, diabolically evil.
The law took its course,
He was tried and sentenced to long imprisonment.
He has served over 20 years.
In accordance with prescribed law and procedure a Parole Board has recommended his release on parole.
The Minister has overruled the Parole Board, citing a hitherto unknown need that the families of the victims were not consulted.
Parole Boards have never consulted families of victims.
Such consultation is NOT in the law prescribing parole procedure.
So the Minister is acting out of POLITICAL NOT LEGAL or human rights considerations.
Here we see one very good reason why you cannot have the death penalty.
The President will also act out of political persuasion when exercising his/her prerogative of mercy.
In social media there are so many who contend that De Kok should “rot in jail”, and that “the laws is an ass”. There are some that even lament the adoption of our "world beating Constitution".
The view here is that his conduct was so reprehensible and evil that, in effect, disregarding the law in this case is justified.
This is a very, very dangerous argument indeed, because it is the antithesis of what is at the very heart of a constitutional democracy. In a constitutional democracy every human being is guaranteed the same rights and protection under what is known as the Rule of Law.
You either have the Rule of Law, or you don’t. There can be no exceptions.
As a High Court judge I often made decisions that I personally did not agree with. I did this as I understood that the Rule of Law was the ultimate and fundamental protection for every one of us. Once you start making exceptions the guarantee is lost, because to-morrow you or I could be the exception.
The argument that there is good reason to make an exception of De Kok is bad. One can always find “good reason” to make exceptions. Despots and tyrants do it all the time.
Certainly DE Kok was a very evil man. He actually deserved to be hanged many times over. However he was no more evil than his masters. He should be seen as just one little finger on a very huge hand of diabolical evil.
The harsh reality is that South Africa let his masters get away instead of having Nuremburg type trials and hanging the lot. As regards De Kok it prescribed a procedure in law, in terms of which he was tried, sentenced, served over 20 years and has now been recommended for parole by a Parole Board acting in accordance with its legislative mandate.
It did this with “open eyes” about De Kok, his evil masters and the horrors of apartheid. It even has the likes of Marthinus Christoffel Johannes van Schalkwyk in its Cabinet.
It did this as part of its birth as a constitutional democracy. Had it not done this South Africa would not have been lauded by the whole world.
It would not have secured the World Cup.
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela would not have become the most revered human being in the history of the planet … just for a start.
Now we see why we have to have good judges and why they take an oath to “administer justice without fear, favour or prejudice”. When you make an exception of De Kok you are pandering to fear, favour and prejudice on political and moral grounds.
You are pandering to the very thinking that ensured the likes of De Kok and the apartheid system. Under that thinking Blacks were to be the exception as human beings.
Politics is always a “dirty” business. Morality is a highly problematical, unruly, volatile thing. Just try settling the bitter, irrational, emotive arguments about gays and lesbians.
A very good way of seeing this issue clearly is to agree that we would all laud and praise the Police Commissioner if she were to uncover a plot to blow up Parliament and its somewhat sleepy attendees.
However would we still agree if we found out that she had uncovered the plot by torturing to death 6 human beings, including your innocent child?
I this simple analogy we see, at a stroke. Why the rule of Law must never be breached.