South Africa news

Kallis reopens death penalty debate

Firdose Moonda

January 3, 2013

Comments: 25 | Text size: A | A

Jacques Kallis got rid of Kane Williamson, South Africa v New Zealand, 1st Test, Cape Town, 2nd day, January 3, 2013
Jacques Kallis left the field in Newlands to reopen the debate about the death penalty after the murder of John Commins © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: John Commins | Jacques Kallis
Teams: South Africa

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

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Posted by TommytuckerSaffa 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?

Posted by threeslipsandagully 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.

Posted by Addu01 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!!!

Posted by jb633 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?

Posted by k3k3k3 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?

Posted by milepost 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.

Posted by k3k3k3 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.

Posted by cloudmess 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.

Posted by k3k3k3 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?

Posted by SA_Scot 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.

Posted by Lloydster on (January 4, 2013, 8:06 GMT)

After recently returned from SA on holiday I have heard, read of other such tragic senseless murders which is despicable and must side with Kallis. The death penalty will work and does work , it rids society of sickos. That poor Indian girl raped and murdered- the gang must be sent to death. Eye for an eye.Its the rulz. More prominent sportsman should be allowed to voice their opinions or is this undemocratic. Now Proteas wrap this Test up so we can move forward.

Posted by Harmony111 on (January 4, 2013, 7:39 GMT)

I saw this headline in the side pane of cricinfo and for a second could not understand whether I was on cricinfo or on some news-portal site. My 2nd thought was that perhaps Kallis made that comment in connection to the recent Delhi incident. Anyways, it is sad that the crime rate in South Africa is increasing. It is one thing to have the pocket picked or the car jacked but human loss is always infinitely more tragic and irreparable. I hope things will improve there in the near future.

And @OhhhhhMattyMatty, Kallis is a human being too. No one lives in a vacuum. No one has just one trait. Every person has the full right and a responsibility to speak out when things go horribly wrong and result in such sad incidents. If Kallis were merely a cricketer then he would be much lesser of a human being. The moment a person restricts himself to one aspect of life then he is making himself prone to a very rude jolt at some point in his life.

Posted by ecjdsouza on (January 4, 2013, 5:21 GMT)

Some thing has to b done, for all the gun violence, these people that kill, innocent people look at all the media coverage that is given and try to get there 15 minute of fame, they should have to deal w the death penalty, and Kallis has a right to his opinion.

Posted by sharidas on (January 4, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

Kallis will be the top Cricketer of all time soon. Regarding his twitter comments, there is nothing unusual. When a person is murdered, the first thing that will cross a person's mind is punishment for the murderer. Nothing wrong with a death penalty. If the murderer decided on a death penalty for his victim, why should he be decided up on differently ?

Posted by balajik1968 on (January 4, 2013, 1:46 GMT)

OhhhhMattyMatty, Kallis is also an individual. He has as much right to his opinion as you have, as I have.As an Indian, I can tell you that leaving politics to the politicians is a bad, bad idea. Benjamin Edmonds, obviously he has lost someone close to him, he is in an emotional state. Just because you don't agree with him, does not mean you should not respect him.

Posted by ZsZs on (January 4, 2013, 1:08 GMT)

When a close one gets killed - it can be thought like that - trying to avenge - but Society is greater than the person who feels the loss and must be set to a higher standard - Society must bring Justice - but can never avenge. Kallis may think this because of his loss and grief - But Society must have the bigger morality. That MUST be the difference between the the person and Society. PS: I live in USA - and I do not agree with the death penalty.

Posted by SurlyCynic on (January 3, 2013, 23:24 GMT)

Kallis sent an emotional tweet after a murder, Cricinfo have published this story about it - and now people are saying they've 'lost respect' for Kallis? He's allowed an opinion, if you disagree with him tell us why, don't tell him to be quiet.

Posted by landl47 on (January 3, 2013, 23:17 GMT)

Kallis is entitled to have an opinion and to express it, but history shows that the way to cut murder rates is to make violence of any kind unacceptable, not to introduce legalized killing. @OzWally: I feel the same- having lived in the UK and Canada before coming to the US, I'm bewildered by the culture of violence here. In 2010 the UK had 41 firearms murders; the US had over 9000. Yet the response of many people here is that there should be more guns. Crazy.

Posted by OzWally on (January 3, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

@Dale_Pain - totally agree, I've lived in the US for many years now and still can't understand their mindset.

They are one of the last remaining countries with the death penalty, yet they still have one of the highest murder rates in the Western world and their answer is to have even more guns in the public's hands than less.

Posted by OzWally on (January 3, 2013, 22:11 GMT)

Even though you may disagree with Kallis, you have to admit he has the right to an opinion. You also have to understand he is speaking with a lot of emotion at this time.

Posted by anilkp on (January 3, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

In fact, it is players of such statures like Kallis who should openly express their clear opinions on social, economic, political matters. If you and I say, no one listens. When such people say something clear and loud, at least some in the top administration will take note. Maybe, that can be influential in making a fruitful legislation. Numerous bad things are happening in our society; for example, look at any news portal about India in last 3 weeks. It is taken for granted that it is the job of college students only to express their opinion--often by boycotting classes and jeopardizing their education. Influencial people like Sachin, who is also a member of Parliament, should voice their genuine opinions to correct the wrongdoings as condoned by our constitution and administrative framework. I salute Kallis that he has opened the debate.

Posted by Dale_Pain on (January 3, 2013, 22:08 GMT)

As a South African who lived in America for a year 3 years ago, I can safely say that anyone who thinks the death penalty is a deterrent is misguided. Criminals don't expect to be caught when murdering and it tends to be spur of the moment.

Posted by BenjaminEdmonds on (January 3, 2013, 21:17 GMT)

I'm new to cricket, Kallis as a cricketer, one of the best ever in my opinion, but I've lost a lot of respect for him, Kallis as a person seems to leave a lot to be desired.

Posted by hughieA on (January 3, 2013, 21:04 GMT)

OhhhhhMattyMatty, since when did being a top cricketer or whatever, prevent one from having an opinion. A lot of people actually have the same opinion as Kallis with regard to these parasites who prey on others.

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (January 3, 2013, 19:36 GMT)

Kallis is a cricketer, not a politician. Stick to bowling and batting and catching and being statistically the greatest cricketer of all time.

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