Death penalty won't reduce crime - Zuma

2011-12-15 16:48

Pretoria - There is no credible evidence to prove that re-introducing the death penalty in South Africa will reduce crime, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

"I do not think there is justice in killing another human being," he said at the official opening of the revived Gallows Memorial at the Pretoria Central Prison.

"Quite often I hear commentators saying bring back the death penalty to combat crime. Our Constitution prioritises the right to life and dignity, and the good judges did well to abolish it."

He said those advocating capital punishment did not understand how it felt to be on death row. South Africa did not need to kill people to prove crime was wrong, he said.

"We can be tough on crime without executing people. Our police will continue to use effective methods to make our communities safer."

He assured the families of the political prisoners who were executed that government would make contact with them "to look at the difficulties they are facing".

Two members from each of the slain prisoners' families had been brought to Pretoria to take part in a two-day "cleansing" ceremony which began on Wednesday.

Zuma said all South Africans had contributed to the attainment of freedom and many lives had been sacrificed in the process.

52 steps

The gallows at the prison, now known as the C Max Correctional Centre, was dismantled in 1996. The memorial museum was erected to honour 134 political prisoners executed there during apartheid.

Zuma, accompanied by several government ministers and ANC leaders, walked the 52 steps leading to the execution chamber, where he was briefed by correctional services commissioner Tom Moyane.

Moyane said 4 300 people went through the hangman's noose, the majority of them common law criminals.

Said Zuma: "We hope this occasion contributes to bring closure and healing to the families [of the executed prisoners]. They should remember that their beloved ones made huge sacrifices for the country."

Prison warders

He paid tribute to the prison warders who served in the gallows, saying they were abused by the apartheid system.

"I want to recognise the prison warders who worked in the execution room, some of whom I'm told were recruited at tender ages of 16 and 17. We all need to walk the path of healing together."

Zuma was happy that some of them were still employed by correctional services and willing to share their experiences.

"Government will assist the officers in the healing process," he said. Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the project had to be done despite the financial cost, which could not be disclosed.

"The TRC [Truth and Reconciliation Commission] did not give an opportunity to the families of those who were executed to speak out," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

"Even those who were executed did not speak for themselves, they were silenced."


She said interactive mechanisms, including a Facebook page and a website would soon be launched for the museum.

Mapisa-Nqakula encouraged South Africans to visit the centre to understand the history and acknowledge how the museum played a role in the country's healing process.

The museum would open next year.

She said the operations of the museum at the prison would not compromise security, and the museum would have a separate entrance.

The presidential entourage visited the chapel, execution room, autopsy room and fridge room.


Read more on:    trc  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  jacob zuma  |  prisons

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Saturday Newlands - 12:32 PM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and UCT due to 2 Oceans Marathon
  • Saturday Hout Bay - 12:31 PM
    Road name: Hout Bay Main Road
    EXPECT DELAYS between Hout Bay and Constantia due to 2 Oceans Marathon
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9360

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 smartphone comes preloaded with Blackberry OS7...

From R1595.00

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.