News24 Wire
2 minute read
4 Sep 2019
4:10 pm

ATM asks parly, Ramaphosa for death penalty referendum

News24 Wire

'The right to life, enshrined in the Constitution, cannot be the sole preserve of murderers and rapists,' the party says.

ATM leader Vuyo Zungula. Picture: Vuyo Zungula/Twitter

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has written to Speaker of the National Assembly Thandi Modise and to the Presidency to ask for the reintroduction of the death penalty.

ATM president Vuyo Zungula wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to invoke his powers in terms of Section 84 of the Constitution to introduce a referendum on the death penalty.

In Zungula’s letter to Modise, he asked that the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) be asked to hold public hearings on the reintroduction of the death penalty.

“It will not be an exaggeration to say that South Africa is facing a crisis of women abuse and an excessive form of gender-based violence,” reads the letter to Ramaphosa.

“The recent killings of young women during the month of August has once again brought this matter to the top of the agenda.”

He wrote that it seemed that the laws that were supposed to protect women were failing.

“We are aware of a plethora of literature and statistics that seek to suggest that the death penalty is not a deterrent for crime,” he wrote.

“As the African Transformation Movement, we hold a firm view that a very strong message needs to be sent to all the murderers and rapists, that the country will not tolerate this kind of abhorrent behaviour.

“The right to life, enshrined in the Constitution, cannot be the sole preserve of murderers and rapists.”

He wrote that the Constitution should be strengthened to protect innocent lives.

“The Constitution cannot be the refuge for murderers and rapists. The Constitution must be the refuge for ALL citizens of this country that are law abiding.”

Zungula also referred to instances of vigilante killings and said these could not be encouraged.

“The outcome of the referendum should decide whether or not the Constitution should be amended to allow for the death penalty for heinous crimes such as rape and murder. South Africa must emulate some of its neighbours, like Botswana and Malawi, where there is zero tolerance for murderers.”

His letter said murderers and rapists were abusing rights enshrined in the Constitution and were “quick to seek refuge in the same Constitution for their own lives to be saved”.

“Bereaved families have an untenable duty to prolong their closure by being forced to coexist with the killers of some of their family members.”

On Tuesday, Ramaphosa described the past few days as a “dark period for South Africa” after many called on the president to address the issue.

The chairperson of parliament’s multi-party women’s caucus, Nkhensani Kate Bilankulu, also said the ANC caucus called for a national state of emergency to be declared on gender-based violence and femicide.

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