'Euthanasia could be practical'

A constitutional law expert has backed Archbishop Desmond Tutu's views on assisted dying.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos believes assisted dying could be practical, as long as it's not exploited.

De Vos on Monday welcomed Archbishop Desmond Tutu's call for euthanasia to be legalised.

Tutu expressed this view in an open letter, affirming that should he be diagnosed with a terminal illness, he would not want to be kept alive by machines.

In the letter, he said what was done to former president Nelson Mandela was "disgraceful", referring to the family opting to prolong his life with machines.

De Vos says people should have the right to choose if they want to end their pain and suffering.

"The Constitution really requires the law to facilitate that, as long as there are safe guards to ensure that it is not abused."


But some members of the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) hit out at the Archbishop after he called for euthanasia to be legalised.

CDP leader Theunis Botha said some of the things Tutu endorses are shameful.

"To his support for abortion and same-sex marriages, Bishop Tutu adds euthanasia to his list of things he supports, that are totally contrary to the word of God."

He went on to say Tutu allowed his desire to be in the spotlight to change him.

"In his desire to be in the limelight, he has become a friend of the enemy."

The CDP leader called Tutu a hypocrite and 'a son of Satan'.