A petition started on 2 September calling for the death penalty to be reinstated in South Africa has so far garnered more than 70,000 signatures.
However, on Wednesday the Justice Department issued a statement dismissing calls for a referendum on bringing back capital punishment.
With emotions running high in the country following the recent brutal murderers of several women, including University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, many people believe the return of the death penalty will curb the increasing violence.
However, Judge Dennis Davis says that's not the case.
Even if we bought back the death penalty, it is not highly unlikely, it is absolutely improbable that the sort of violence we see engulfing South Africa right now would be reduced in any measurable form.— Judge Dennis Davis
Davis says while petitions like the one started on Monday, may point towards a tide of feeling in the country, he adds that the point of the Bill of Rights is that certain issues are put beyond the reach of the transient majority.
Of course, I understand this notion of 'the people say so', but the answer is, that isn't the model we have. Just look at what a referendum did to England...it utterly and completely destroyed that society.— Judge Dennis Davis
Capital punishment was abolished in South Africa in 1995 by the Constitutional Court in the landmark case of S v Makwanyane and Another.
Listen to the full interview:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : [LISTEN] 'Death penalty would not reduce violence in SA,' says Dennis Davis