More than 450,000 South Africans have signed a petition calling for the re-introduction of the death penalty, following several high-profile murders and rampant violence that engulfed the country.
The travel and tourism industry is an important export to this country. Safety and security is directly connected to tourism, and so far tourists are usually not involved in violent incidents, but it may be a matter of time.
The campaign was set up after a student, Uyinene Mrwetyana, was raped and murdered at a post office in Cape Town. Its founder cited several other high-profile deaths, including the 2013 killing of model Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot dead by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, as the inspiration for the petition.
“We as a movement must find our voice to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the hope of saving this great country,” the petition reads.
The most recent crime statistics reveal that there were 20,336 murders in South Africa between April 2017 and March 2018, a 7 percent increase on the previous year. This puts the country’s murder rate at 57 murders each day.
The body of 19-year-old Mrwetyana was found on Monday. The suspect, a post office employee, has appeared in court charged with her murder and rape after he confessed.
South Africa abolished the death penalty after the fall of apartheid, when a constitutional court ruled that it was in conflict with the country’s 1994 constitution.
There has been widespread violence across South Africa in recent days, with police using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to try and stamp out looting and rioting.