Amend Constitution To Deter Violent Crime

The outrage and hand-wringing at the release of the latest crime statistics adds nothing to deterring the tsunami of violent crime that prevails (The Witness, September 13).

The reactions of the different party spokesmen on the subject read like a stuck record. Police minister Bheki Cele feels the police “have dropped the ball.” Maybe, but then the SAP have been hobbled by incompetent leadership as a result of political agendas.

IFP spokesman Narend Singh’s call for a national dialogue on crime prevention is a step in the right direction but only if it recognises the need for constitutional reform. Whilst more policing and improved investigative capacity may put the bite on crime until there is the will to deny murderers the right to dignity, the right to life and security of person – sections 10, 11 and 12 of the constitution – deterring violent crime is not going to be effective.

For too long too many have indulged in proclaiming the merits of our constitution. They enthuse about its moral order yet seem blind to the contradiction that murderers are constitutionally entitled to the right to life, dignity and security of person which they denied to their victims.

Rights that are not respected should be forfeited. Terms and conditions must apply. It is absurd in the extreme that perpetrators of murder should be afforded the very rights they denied to those they killed. The claim that the constitution cannot be amended to make provisions for the death penalty is humbug. No constitution is cast in stone. If section 25 of the constitution can be changed so can any other section. Besides, the relationship between democracy and the constitution is a two-way street. In the latter is premised on the will of the people, then it needs to keep in tune with the will of the people.

So let’s have a national dialogue or a codesa on violent crime. Let’s recognise that only by confronting murderers with the prospect of losing their lives for their deeds that violent crime can be deterred and true justice can prevail.

Sent into the Witness and published, 14 September 2018.

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