The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has warned against the calls in favour of a reinstated death penalty in South Africa.
The IRR's John Kane-Berman says studies have not been able to conclusively prove its deterrent effect.
In addition, Kane-Berman says there is documentary evidence that innocent people across the world have been put to death because of capital punishment.
There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect.— John Kane-Berman, Policy Fellow - Institute of Race Relations
The Justice Department issued a statement dismissing calls for a referendum on bringing back the death penalty in South Africa.
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Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola admits that the criminal justice system needs improvement.
Our system needs improvement.— Ronald Lamola, Justice and Correctional Services Minister
Although the infrastructure has challenges, it does where. Let us be alerted where there are problems. It is not a perfect system.— Ronald Lamola, Justice and Correctional Services Minister
Lamola says South Africa's constitutional ethos and aim for restorative justice cannot be dismissed amid discussions about the death penalty and chemical castration.
The minister says his department plans to open 11 sexual offences courts in the current financial year.
He's vowed to work with National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to publicly share more information on the conviction of perpetrators of sexual and gender-based violence.
This, Lamola says, is in a bid to change the perception that abusers and sexual offenders are not harshly promised.
Listen to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola on Today with Kieno Kammies: