ANC Women's League members put death penalty back on the table

Minister Bathabile Dlamini addresses delegates during launch of Child Protection (Photo GCIS)
Minister Bathabile Dlamini addresses delegates during launch of Child Protection (Photo GCIS)

Johannesburg – Some members of the ANC Women’s League are pushing for the return of the death penalty, in a desperate attempt to stop the murder of women.

League president Bathabile Dlamini told News24 on the sidelines of the ANC’s 5th national policy conference on Friday that capital punishment was one of the topics brought up for discussion.

"What I have noticed is that women are feeling aggrieved a lot, especially young women that are calling on the death sentence," said Dlamini.

The death penalty was used against freedom fighters during the apartheid era. It was declared unconstitutional in June 1995 in the famous Constitutional Court judgment, State vs Makwanyane. In the unanimous ruling, the court held that the death penalty violated the right to life contained in the Bill of Rights.

Dlamini said some members of the league felt the death sentence should be returned because of the high levels of violence against women.

There was a general feeling that those who committed the crimes often got away with murder.

"Our view, because of our experience, is that you can’t allow the state to kill. As time goes on there will be recklessness, especially with our past experience and what’s happening in other countries,” said Dlamini.

"The state cannot be given the licence to kill."

She said there was also an idea that, instead of demanding the return of a law that is unconstitutional, current legislation could be strengthened to empower young women to confront the challenges facing them.

Dlamini said she personally felt a call for the death penalty was the wrong move because of South Africa’s tragic past and how the gallows were used against those who took a political stand against the apartheid government.

"[This] doesn’t mean I don’t feel for our young women that have been killed. It doesn’t mean I don’t understand the issues of life," she said.

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