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‘Women and children are being killed like flies’: Contralesa calls for a referendum on the death penalty

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA is calling for a referendum on the death penalty. Stock photo.
The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA is calling for a referendum on the death penalty. Stock photo.
Image: belchonock/123rf

The Congress of Traditional Leaders of SA (Contralesa) is calling for a referendum on the death penalty amid the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide against women and children.

Over the past few weeks SA has been rocked by several GBV cases, including the murders of Hillary Gardee, Namhla Mtwa and Bontle Mashiyane.

Gardee was found murdered on May 3, four days after she had gone missing. She had left home in Kwamagugu in Mbombela to go shopping on April 29. Three suspects have been arrested.

Mtwa was shot nine times in her driveway in Mthatha on April 21 as she arrived home from work. No suspects have been arrested yet.

Six-year-old Mashiyane was kidnapped, raped and murdered, and her body was found dumped near her home in Mpumalanga. Five suspects have been arrested. 

Speaking on SABC News, Contralesa president Chief Lameck Mokoena said the death penalty should be reinstated to stop the killing of women and children.

He claimed many perpetrators of the crimes are former convicts.

“The killing of women and children has got out of hand. What makes it worse is that many of the perpetrators are former convicts who are out on parole,” said Mokoena.

“Unless government comes up with innovative ideas on how to deal with this, our country is becoming a banana republic. We call on government to call for a referendum to test the will of the people as to whether the death penalty should be brought back.”

Mokoena also told CapeTalk South Africans should be allowed to vote in a referendum on the death penalty.

“Our women and children are being killed like flies. What have they done to deserve this? If someone cannot act on this, it means the people must decide what must happen to stop the carnage,” he said. 

According to Mokoena, past cases have shown criminals are not afraid of going to prison and the death penalty could be a stronger deterrent.

He said criminals were “enjoying life” in prisons at the taxpayer’s expense.

“People will be scared knowing that if I do this, I might die,” said Mokoena. 

In 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the death penalty was not compatible with the introduction of the constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“I am aware the calls for the death penalty often come in light of rising GBV but we are bound by our constitution. 

“Instead, there are other means of meting out punishment, such as handing down a life sentence with hard labour,” he said. 

TimesLIVE


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