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Women abuse: Death penalty can be discussed by Cabinet, says Justice Minister

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola was asked on Tuesday whether government was open to a referendum on whether the death penalty should be reinstated for violent crimes against women.

Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - Mounting calls for the return of the death penalty are likely to be discussed at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola was asked on Tuesday whether government was open to a referendum on whether the death penalty should be reinstated for violent crimes against women.

Lamola said it was something that could be taken before Cabinet for further discussion.

“Whether we are open to a referendum or not, I think at this stage, I can’t say whether we are open or not open. It’s something we can still take further for a discussion. We’ve agreed with my colleague [Minister of Women Maite Nkoana-Mashabane] to take a discussion at Cabinet on some of the issues that might need further deliberations and
approval, which myself and her can’t really approve.”

This comes as a petition was launched by South Africans. It calls for the implementation of the death penalty. By Wednesday morning, the petition garnered over 500,000 signatures.

This follows a spate of attacks on women that peaked with the death of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa broke his silence on the issue on Tuesday. South Africans criticised the president over his silence.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the president said it was a dark time for South Africa. He promised to meet with the police’s top brass to address the issue.

“This is a very dark period for us as a country. The assaults, rapes and murders of South African women are a stain on our national conscience.”