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WHEN WILL SIMELANE BE HANGED?

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Sir,

No doubt David Simelane will die many times before his death. Indeed he has died many times before his death. But when will he really be dead?
The court endorsed his death; now the fundamental question is: how long should a convict on death row wait for death? It is clear that the purpose of a death sentence is to facilitate death by execution.


It is counterproductive to have a condemned convict wait indefinitely for the execution of a death sentence, particularly because of the possibility that death may come during the waiting and consequently achieve what the sentence didn’t intend, which is death by natural causes other than execution.


Condemned


In a case where the condemned does not die as a case of execution, it would mean that the death sentence was foiled. What is the purpose of a death sentence that does not come into effect? The Supreme Court affirmed his death sentence. Some of the aggrieved relatives have asked for his immediate execution. They want his death warrant to be hastily executed. They applauded the Supreme Court for the judgment, saying he deserved it. These reactions are sufficient to show that Simelane is wanted dead by all means. It remains to be seen whether the green light will be given or a decision to commute the death sentence to imprisonment.


Execution


 The victims’ relatives are eagerly waiting for Simelane’s execution just as he, himself, is waiting for his execution although not with eagerness. Considering that it took a decade to arrive at what may be described as a point of no return, it is a thing of wonder whether the execution of a death sentence validated by the final rung of justice hierarchy could also take that long. Simelane got a death sentence by hanging for murder. The Supreme Court of Appeal backed the death sentence. Murderers are penalised not only for murder but they are also penalised so that others may not become murderers. It is important to bring closure to this human drama of inhumanity. The longer Simelane is allowed to live after the final judicial decision, the longer it will take to close the murder case.


Justification


 Curiously, Simelane may live longer than his death sentence but as long as the death penalty is accommodated by the country’s justice system, there is no justification for keeping condemned convicts waiting.
It is unclear how long this death row convict will live, and this amounts to contempt.


The debate about the death penalty for murder did not begin today and it will continue as long as society is unable to conceive a different punishment for murder that will capture the gravity of the crime. Murder is the ultimate crime and death is the ultimate punishment. An ultimate crime deserves an ultimate punishment.

Colleen Matsebula

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