Thursday 2024-05-30




By Mbono Mdluli | 2019-03-11

CONVICTED serial killer David Simelane might find himself surviving the hangman’s noose as the country has taken the position against hanging convicts.

The court ruled that the serial killer must hang back in 2011.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Pholile Shakantu last Thursday told MPs that the country still did not embrace the death penalty in practice, even though it had laws that pronounced the death penalty. This was during the annual performance and 2019/2020 budget debate of the ministry of justice and constitutional affairs in Senate.

The debate was done by MPs who are members of the ministry’s portfolio committee. It must be noted though that the minister did not mention Simelane’s name in her submissions. Shakantu was responding to questions posed by MPs to her during the debate. MPs wanted to know the country’s position as far as the death penalty was concerned.

What confused the MPs was that on one hand, the death penalty was enshrined in the country’s statutes, yet on the other hand, no person was recorded to have gone through the hangman recently. Manzini North MP Macford Sibandze said he once saw an advertisement on local media, where a hangman was wanted.

Sibandze said even though many did not want to apply for the position, there were some Emaswati that showed interest. He said he personally met some people who even applied for the post, stating that the aspirants saw no problem in executing the job. However, according to Sibandze, advertisements soon vanished into thin air, without any explanation from the government. The aspirants, according to the MP, were also surprised on what happened. Sibandze wanted to know what had happened. He wanted the minister to clarify what the decision of the country was in the matter.

MP Prince Kusa also showed interest on the matter. Prince Kusa stated clearly that he was of the view that the country should make a move on abolishing the death penalty. He asked the minister to clarify if the country was making any move in that direction.

Shakantu stated that the country had not made any move towards the abolition of the death penalty. She said it was up to Parliament to make a move on the abolition, by amending laws that included the death penalty. She said even though the constitution embraced the death penalty, Parliament could still remove the death penalty clauses from the country’s laws. The minister said the country last hanged a person in 1983 and since then, no one has been hanged. The country did not effect the death penalty even though the laws still embraced it. On another note  Simelane was sentenced to death in 2011 after he was arrested in 2001. He was accused of killing at least 28 women. However, he is still alive behind bars.

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