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Judicial CP - June 1997

The Star, Johannesburg, 5 June 1997

Cuts to be outlawed as sentence

CAPE TOWN - Legislation to scrap corporal punishment as a sentencing option was approved by the National Assembly yesterday.

The Abolition of Corporal Punishment Bill, which flows from a Constitutional Court ruling that this form of punishment is unconstitutional, was opposed by the IFP, Freedom Front and African Christian Democratic Party.

Introducing the debate, Justice Minister Dullah Omar said it could be argued that the scrapping of corporal punishment limited punishment options for juveniles. His department had asked the SA Law Commission to investigate.

Omar said that while the National Assembly's justice committee had decided the legislation should not apply to institutions under the Department of Welfare, the National Council of Province's committee, to which the bill would now be referred, had indicated it would adopt another viewpoint.

Dirk Bakker (NP) said his party welcomed the measure as an important step towards creating a human rights culture.

Madala Mzizi (IFP) said it seemed "madness and extraordinarily short-sighted" to abolish corporal punishment as a criminal sanction.

Dr Corn Mulder (FF) said it could be bad to expose juvenile petty offenders to hardened criminals in jail.

Douglas Gibson (DP) said his party supported the bill because it believed in the rule of law and constitutionalism, but he was concerned that magistrates might be tempted to send people to prison where previously they had the option of imposing cuts.

ACDP leader Kenneth Meshoe said the Constitutional Court's reasoning on punishment of juveniles did not bear scrutiny. The court's function was "not to make moral decisions for the rest of us". - Sapa.

Cape Times, Cape Town, 10 June 1997


To all the do-gooders who are shouting for corporal punishment to be dropped, I ask, what has happened to everybody?

Firstly, teachers were stopped from using any form of physical punishment: "It's child abuse, parents cannot slap their children."

Now, juvenile criminals are not allowed a caning. Therefore we are saying to these little criminals: "Go ahead, assault people in the streets, break in to cars and houses, we won't punish you, you are too young to go to prison, and you won't get the caning you deserve, so you're free to do as you please."

We are saying to other criminals: "Murderers, go ahead and murder innocent people; rapists, go ahead and rape old and young, we won't hang you, you have 'the right to life', to hell with the lives you took."

I say bring back the death penalty and the proverbial slap on the behind for the young which has never killed anyone but has, instead, made better people out of us.

Mrs C van Aswegen - Ottery

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