In a country besieged by rampant crime and lawlessness, calls for the reinstatement of the death penalty has suddenly become widespread and more vocal. Traditionally, only the white population were in favour of the death penalty, but recently large sections of the non-white population seem to be in favour of its return. Even Jacob Zuma, the probable future President of South Africa has given clear indications that when in power, his government will seriously reconsider re-instating the death penalty. It is a strange development, given that the death penalty was abolished due to its association with our apartheid past.
It seems to me that the good people of South Africa, desperate for a solution, and spurred on by emotional, rather than rational thinking, are prepared to trade in some of their hard-won freedoms for a brief respite from the crime situation. Progressive democracies all over the world have repealed the death penalty, for the simple reason that it is barbaric. Only a few despotic governments still cling to this dark-age law, to maintain control of their subjects. The death penalty allows governments to carry out state sanctioned murder. All people who value their freedom should never allow their governments to enact such archaic laws.
Logically, the death penalty wont work in South Africa, because it is simply not regarded as a deterrent by hardened criminals who know that in order to be executed, you first have to be caught. And we all know that in South Africa, the chances of criminals being arrested are pretty much non-existent. The police force are ineffective at best and downright incompetent or corrupt at worst. Let’s face it good people, you’ve first got to catch the crook before you can string him up from the nearest tree. So rather than waste valuable effort on re-instating the death penalty, let’s concentrate on re-instating competence and ethics back into the police force.