Death Penalty ramaphosa

Photo: Envato Elements

Death penalty: The parties and politicians who support capital punishment in SA

The murder of eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk has sparked a controversial debate in South Africa. But which elected officials support the death penalty?

Death Penalty ramaphosa

Photo: Envato Elements

Tempers flared to near boiling point on Tuesday evening when Elsies River community members gathered and voiced their anger to President Cyril Ramaphosa. The president had visited the area where he addressed residents in the wake of the murder of eight-year-old Tazne van Wyk. Community members’ calls for the death penalty were deafening.

Calls for death penalty intensify after Tazne van Wyk murder

The suspect, 54-year-old Moyhdine Pangarker, is facing charges of kidnapping, murder and the disposal of Van Wyk’s body in storm water pipe. Ramaphosa told residents that the parole system needed “revamping”, and apologised for the early release which has been attributed to the murder of the young girl.

No amount of restorative justice can bring the child back. But those in Elsies River are past caring about moral implications. In their droves, they are leading a charge to reinstate capital punishment for serious offences. Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC have always shied away from the death penalty – but others are more in favour of capital punishment.

Who supports the death penalty in South Africa?

African Christia Democratic Party: Lead by Dr Kenneth Meshoe, the ACDP are exactly what they say they are – a political party governed by religious principles. They have four seats in Parliament.

African Covenant: Even more theological than the ACDP, this party is an uber-conservative outfit that base their principles of those on the Bible. They say getting an abortion should be punishable by death.

African Transformation Movement: Mzwanele Manyi and co are convinced that the deterrent of death will curb crime rates in South Africa. They believe it should be introduced for “serial murders and rapists”.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP): They are the most established, best-supported party that is currently making noise about the death penalty: The IFP says the country needs to hold a referendum on the issue.

Freedom Front Plus: Dr Pieter Groenewald suggested that his party would implement the penalty for those who kill landowners and farmers. This pledge was missing in their 2019 Manifesto, though.

…And, the ANC Women’s League: Fresh from calling for chemical castration for rapists, the ANCWL and Bathabile Dlamini said in September 2019 that men guilty of femicide should be killed as well.

And who is against it?

However, the Women’s League – and definitely Bathabile Dlamini – do not collectively speak for the ANC. On Tuesday, Cyril Ramaphosa again waved away calls for the death penalty, towing a party line which has been in place for 26 years. Both the DA and the EFF also oppose the notion, meaning that none of the top three parties in South Africa officially endorse the death penalty.