SOUTH AFRICA NOT TO BRING BACK DEATH PENALTY
April 16, 2007: the South African government would not resort to the death penalty in spite of high crime rate in the country, according a report. Local English paper Daily News reported that any hope that the government would bring back the death penalty were dashed when President Thabo Mbeki Sunday said this was not considered an option to bring down the country's crime rate.
Mbeki, on a presidential imbizo in black concentrated Soweto, was responding to the pleas of a resident who asked for the death penalty to be implemented because of the high crime rate in the area, but the president reminded her of the ugly historical legacy of capital punishment. The resident said at the imbizo, attended by Mbeki, some of his ministers and Gauteng and Johannesburg leadership, that crime was a serious problem and that she believed the death penalty would solve the matter.
However, the president said the problem with the death penalty was that it was mostly black people who were being hanged in the past. He reminded her that crime was not a new phenomenon and that residents of Soweto and Alexander lived with this scourge for many years under apartheid. Mbeki told residents that criminals lived in their midst and some of them even buy stolen goods from thieves.
"But you turn around and say Mr President what about crime ... while you are (part of the problem)," he said, urging residents to cooperate with the police. (Source: Xinhua, 16/04/2007)