‘Death sentence is a deterrent’

Ntsikelelo Sirunu, Khayelitsha

I want to assure all those who are opposed to the death penalty that under normal circumstances no one would call for the reinstatement of this inhumane form of punishment, especially because of its finality.

However, there have been many cases in South Africa where the crime has been so brazenly committed that there can be no doubt that it was deliberately planned by the perpetrator and carried out without a care in the world, because they knew they would get away with it. But, desperate times call for desperate measures.

What is more cruel, the death penalty imposed as punishment for heinous crimes committed by the criminal or the ghastly crimes perpetrated by cruel men against women and children who trusted them because they have shared many intimate moments, believing that they had special bonds as lovers; not to mention those that unknowingly walk into a death trap, like Uyinene Mrwetyana, Hillary Gardee and others?.

What about those who are not only killed but are mutilated by their so-called lovers with their body parts hidden in fridges or burnt beyond recognition? And the disgraceful and heartless death of Tshegofatso Pule, eight months pregnant, murdered with her unborn child and her pregnant body hung from a tree: can anyone imagine anything more cruel than that?

And the cruelty of our justice system, which has shown more sympathy for criminals, handing out lenient life sentences which are never served in full as they are granted parole in no time to be integrated into their communities, only to murder more victims as they find life outside prison is more difficult than the comfort they enjoy in prison. To escape the harsh conditions outside prison, they devise a plan to make sure they go back.

The death penalty is a deterrent in more ways than one. I have to say it again, go to the Middle East or Botswana our neighbour to know that it is a deterrent.