Addressing the media at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema disagreed with the death penalty as a way of dealing with the scourge of violence against women and children in South Africa.
“We don’t support death penalty. Anyone who suggests death penalty must give scientific evidence of where death penalty has succeeded in reducing crime,” he said.
“The legal system in SA is very expensive, you may be wrongfully accused and because you can’t afford proper legal representation, you will be hanged. In a system that hates black people, our brothers and sisters will be the ones that are hanged.
“We need a biting criminal justice system. The laws are there, our police are the ones that are failing us,” he continued.
This followed Malema addressing the recent murders of women Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels, Janika Mallo, as well as Ayakha Jiyani and her siblings.
“The reality is that these are not unique cases, but a reflection of the daily experiences of women and children who face the threat of rape, abuse, and death in both private and public spaces,” he said.
“The solution to these problems must lie in fixing our public institutions of law enforcement; the police stations, prosecutors, and 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.
“Our criminal justice system is most toothless when it comes to dealing with rape, detecting psychopaths and unearthing violent domestic spaces.
“The power of the law must precisely be so effective that it is observed by all in public and domestic spaces because they know there are consequences.
“It is, therefore, the police and the criminal justice system that must take full responsibility for why rape and murder of women and children has become part of our daily lives.
“We call on a national emergency on police stations to be radically and urgently reconfigured as safe spaces for the report of sexual crimes. We call on investigative capacity to be immediately developed to detect sexual violence in domestic and private spaces,” the EFF leader said.
“We need caring judges; who are welcoming and sensitive, not those who seem to perpetuate the intimidating nature of court,” he added later in his address.
(Edited by Daniel Friedman)