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The Death Penalty: Capital Punishment

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Do you think the Death Penalty should be reinstated?

Date Started: 2006-09-18
Date Concluded: 2007-01-20
The question asked in this poll was a difficult one that made us contemplate our morality. We asked if you thought that the Death Penalty should be reinstated. We did not elaborate on how a person sentenced in this why should be executed (by electrocution on the electric chair, lethal injection or by hanging) or for which crimes Capital Punishment should be made a possibility (murder, rape, assault, etc). We gave three options: yes, no or unsure and left it up to the visitors. The poll showed that a vast majority of those who took part in the poll were actually in favour of the Reinstatement of Capital Punishment. In this poll, which was run for an extended period of time, 74.8% voted yes (157 votes); 24.3% voted no (51 votes); and 0.9% were unsure (2 votes). The total number of votes counted were 210.

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Poll Background

Death by HangingPublic opinion on the Death Penalty has varied from time to time and has been linked to the perceived levels of violent crime in an affected area. The basic arguments "for" and "against" Capital Punishment remain the more or less the same:

Against - The Death Penalty is unconstitutional in that it violates an individual's right to life, right to dignity and the right to be free of torture and cruel punishment.

For - Death is a deserved punishment for serious crimes such as murder, and acts as a deterrent to the increase of serious crimes as well as a greater respect for the law. It also serves to protect law-abiding societies through a permanent incapacitation of the offender.

There is likely no undisputed evidence, or rationalisation, that has been put forward from either camp which proves or disproves either argument. Despite this, the debate regarding the Death Penalty.

The current ruling party in South Africa, the ANC, remains firmly opposed to the reinstatement of the Death Penalty as an organisation. This has led to the Death Penalty being abandoned in this country. Personal views within the ANC (its members and supporters), are however far from uniform, and there has been on occassion, calls for a referendum to be held on the issue.

With the recent disturbing and well-known murders in the Athlone area of Taliep Petersen (well known Cape Town entertainer who wrote District Six: the Musical), Brett Goldin (the movie star who acted in "Straight outta Benoni"), Neefa van der Schyff (talented classic guitarist and music lecturer at UCT), and the 6 month old baby Jordan-Leigh Norton, the Death Penalty debate has once again surfaced. These murders are however "only the tip of the iceberg" as the number of serious crimes that do not fall into the public eye is far higher. What do we do with murderers? How do we decide whether someone who has been convicted of such a serious crime can or cannot be rehabilitated? Do you feel that the reinstatement of the Death Penalty will make South Africa a safer place to live?

Comments Received about the The Death Penalty: Capital Punishment poll

The death of baby Jordan and the brutal rape of baby Tsipang is and will always be devastating.Why not reinstate the death penalty? Has the crime rate decreased since it was last put into practise? How is it possible to rehabilitate someone if they without second thought, destroyed and even ended the innocent and defenseless life of a little baby? Were is the justice in the rape and murder of babies? Did these brutal and senseless acts of violence not violate their human rights?

I do not think that the death penalty should be reinstated at all and its ridiculous. We should address the factors relating to the death penalty and get everyone on the same page.

I think we should address the actual factors relating to the cause of crime. I think it shows alot about a society when they find it right to take another persons right to live. Because at the end of the day its the enviroment and situation which someone grows up whith which influences them to commit crime.

I think a great idea would be to use prisoner as 'SLAVE LABOUR'. Use them as a labour force to make bricks for which can be used to build houses for so much homeless people ... there are many better ways to deter people from crime.

The death penalty is archaic and does more damage to society. I say use prisoners as Slave Labour to benefit South Africa as a whole...

Lets think creatively...

I say: "An eye for an eye..."

The death penalty is wrong in principle, the whole debate on if it works to curb crime (which it does not) is irrelevent; the death penalty degrades the officials who have to enforce it; if you are in favour, would you be prepared to be the hangman?

What can be learned from the USA, with regards to the death penalty? - in 3 words "it doesn't work". How many prisoners are on death row? - has the murder rate been reduced in anyway? NO!!!!. Leave to the Creator to decide whether a person lives or dies!!!

People have adopted the idea that they have a warrant to take someone else's life, so then an eye for an eye type of attitude should be adopted. I firmly believe that once the death penalty is re-instated, the level of serious crimes will cease or become less.

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