South Africa news January 3, 2013

Kallis reopens death penalty debate


Jacques Kallis has called for a debate on the restoration of the death penalty in South Africa after the murder of a former first-class cricketer with strong links to the team.

John Commins, the uncle of a former Test player with the same name, and father of a players' agent, was killed on Wednesday night. Flags at Newlands were flown at half-mast on the second day of the Test match against New Zealand in his honour.

Kallis posted a message on twitter after the day's play which read: "Thoughts and prayers with @DonneCommins and family. Tragic news. Something really has to be done about the crime in this country #deathpenalty."

Donne Commins, daughter of the murdered man, is the agent of many prominent players including Morne and Albie Morkel, Herschelle Gibbs and Mark Boucher, Kallis' best friend who was forced to retire after a freak eye injury last July.

Boucher was due to enjoy a farewell parade on the third day of the Test, which he has asked to postpone because of the murder.

Cricket South Africa had planned to honour Boucher on his career and help promote his Save the Rhino foundation which is focused on anti-poaching. He was also going to conduct media interviews for only the second time since his retirement. Instead, Boucher's tribute will now be held next month during the Pakistan Test in Cape Town.

"Donne has been very close to me for most of my career and has been much more to me than a business partner," Boucher said in a statement. "She has been incredibly supportive over the past few months in particular during which time she has been a tremendous pillar of support."

The South African sporting community has been rocked by two deaths in the space of two days: Commins, who played 10 first-class matches for Western Province, and Olympic cyclist Burry Stander who was killed in a hit-and-run accident while on his bicycle in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • greig on January 6, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    eye for an eye. If you go out with intent to take someones life, then why shouldnt you lose yours?

  • Charles on January 5, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    Tremendous respect for Jacques Kallis as a cricketer, but I believe he's entirely wrong. The costs of "humanely" and legally carrying out an execution are enormous when compared to life imprisonment, as well as the issue of wrongful execution. Not to mention the humanitarian issues and those relating to international law (see the UN moratorium on the death penalty, and articles 1 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which Amnesty International believes capital punishment is in violation of). There are no logical arguments in favour of capital punishment, merely ill conceived reactionary ideas based on petty revenge.

  • Adnan on January 4, 2013, 17:44 GMT

    Kallis is right!!!!Death penalty does work and it has worked in many countries. It would create a fear in killer's mind that killing means he can also loose his own life and he might end up giving up. No one has the right to take others' life and criminals should not be given this right either by mean of lenient laws!! so best solution is death penalty!!!

  • Jon on January 4, 2013, 16:05 GMT

    I 100 % agree with King Kallis. At the end of the day if you deny a human being the right to life society should have the rights to deny you to life. I have played seasons of cricket is SA and let me say that it is an intimidating place. Areas are abandoned by the police and crime goes on without any reprecussions. Yes the death penalty will not prevent all murders but it can act as therapeutic justice for the family of the deceased. The liberal thinkers may try and talk about forgiveness etc, but what we must not forget is the people that really matter, are those who are most affected by the murder. The loved ones of the innocent party have the right to see retribution. Why should a murderer be given any rights whatsoever?

  • Khalid on January 4, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    The Creator of the Heavens and Earth and Everything in between lays the laws to live by and one of one His insignificant creations calls His laws abhorrent. How abhorrent is THAT?

  • Cameron on January 4, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    This is hardly the place I'd ever make comment on such a topic however, information is easily accessible that shows that the death penalty is no deterrent to murder. In fact you'll find that murder rates are higher in such places. I can't name sites where you will see for yourself due to cricinfo rules but go see for yourself. It's an awful event but the death penalty is abhorrent and no solution. Neither is this the place for unfounded statements. If you are so coldly seeking the death of another human being, have a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.

  • Khalid on January 4, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    To lose respect a person must have done, said or written somthing shameful. Kallis hasn't but the people who were quick to disrespect him have.

  • David on January 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    I don't agree with Kallis, but I can understand and sympathise, and have certainly lost no respect for him. In his situation, I'd probably be thinking something similiar.

  • Khalid on January 4, 2013, 11:43 GMT

    God's command is law which no government has the authority to overrule. Whereas "Though shalt not kill" is command for individuals, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a life for a life" is command for the State to maintain law and order in society. When a murderer is allowed to get away with killing, society is denied justice. Also, justice delayed is justice denied which is the case in the US, the killer knows he is going to live a long life even if sentenced to death while appeal after appeal is filed in courts. Death penalty saves lives if only we understand!!!

    Kallis is asking justice for family and friends of the deceased. Why is that wrong?

  • Thomas on January 4, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    @Anyone. Do not blur the meaning of Kallis's comment by introducing the issue about gun in society; Some nations just are not as ready as others to do without the extreme deterrant of Capital punishment.

    A debate about the death penalty will always be around, so insinuating someone is losing respect because he puts the comment out there is beyond foolish.

    If The Death penalty promotes violence in a society (Weird correlation, an abundance of guns has more relevance to that argument), then a lack of solid communication and debate on ALL topics surely has a similarly negative effect

    I dont believe we live in a eutopian world YET, where high ideals get rewarded. Perhaps when humanity has evolved beyond its current unbalanced wealth and education state we can have debates about banishing all extreme deterrents from the justice system.

    I dont like the idea of Capital Punishment, it is not civilised thinking,but it may be necessary for now in my opinion to move some societies forward.

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